DETROIT -- Well, North Carolina is pretty good. The Tar Heels handled the Michigan State Spartans at Ford Field Wednesday night 98-63, proving that the Spartans have a long way to go in order to reach the level of play many think they are capable of.
The Tar Heels beat the Spartans in pretty much every aspect of the game. After a competitive first half that saw both team shooting over 50 percent, the Tar Heels opened the game up with a 10-2 run to start the second half.
The Spartans didn’t have enough in the tank to keep up with Tyler Hansbrough (25 points and 11 rebounds) and the Tar Heels.
“We were dead. We had no legs,” Spartan Coach Tom Izzo said after the game. “We had Marquise Gray that had probably the worst game he has had all season. Day Day (Draymond Green) got in foul trouble. I’m still not trying to play Delvon (Roe) for 20 minutes. We just had no legs left."
After the game, MSU guard Kalin Lucas said the team shared responsibiity. “We’re not trying to make any excuses, they played well, but I think everybody could see the second half, guys didn’t have legs,” he said. “Some guys missed some open shots that we normally hit.”
Coach Izzo took the blame for the loss because he is the one that made the schedule. The Spartans have played four games in seven days. He said that he realized that the team had no legs at practice on Monday when the guys were dead tired after 45 minutes. Fatigue did play a role in the way the Spartans played, but there are a lot of things that the Spartans need to work on.
Early in Wednesday night’s game, the Spartans attacked the paint with great success, but as the game went on they started settling for jump shots. Raymar Morgan felt that the jumpers were in the flow of the offense.
“Guys were open for shots, so we’re comfortable with that,” said Morgan, who finished with 21 points and 6 rebounds. “Coach called some great plays, and got guys open for shots, but they just didn’t fall.”
Turnovers killed the Spartans as well. Coach Izzo felt that the Spartans did a good job of containing the transition game of the Tar Heels off of rebounds and made baskets, but he and the team felt the turnovers are what opened things up for Carolina.
“I think they are a great team,” Kalin Lucas said. “One thing we did was turn the ball over. They got some easy lay-ups and some easy dunks. That’s one thing I think we need to work on.”
Ty Lawson outplayed his point guard counterpart while totaling 17 points, 8 assists and 7 steals. Lawson accomplished those numbers without committing a single turnover. Every single decision that he made was the right one, and he even surprised the Spartans with his perimeter shot. If he develops a consistent jumper, this will probably be the junior’s last year in Chapel Hill.
This was a big game for MSU sophomores Durrell Summers and Lucas, both from Detroit. They hoped to put on a great performance in the premier venue in the city, but the two natives left Ford Field with an empty feeling.
“I’m hurt, especially being from this area, being from Detroit,” Lucas explained. “Playing the No. one team down here at Ford Field. … It is disappointing.”
Summers took some positives out of this game and feels that his team can apply those in future contests, maybe even against the Tar Heels.
“I thought we were aggressive, we defended pretty well,” Summers said. “They had a little trouble with our stuff on offense, and I think we can build off that.”
The Spartans played again without Goran Suton, who will have surgery on Thursday, when his knee will be scoped. Coach Izzo expects him to be out for 2-3 weeks.
The Spartans’ next game is Sunday against Bradley.