January 12, 2011

Green bounces back big; Roe steps up on 'D'

EAST LANSING - Draymond Green bounced back from one of the worst games of his college career with one of his best.

The junior from Saginaw carried the Spartans at times during their thrilling comeback from a 9-point deficit in the final 2:37 to force overtime and eventually defeat Wisconsin, 64-61, Tuesday night at Breslin Center.

Green was a miserable 2-of-10 from the floor during Saturday's loss at Penn State, and more importantly was leaky and lethargic with defensive assignments against the Nittany Lions. He also was beaten on the go-ahead points for a tip-in at Happy Valley.

Against Wisconsin, Green surged the forefront with 26 points on a night in which Michigan State's usual offensive guns, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers were a combined 5-of-23 from the floor.

"I think Draymond, our coaches and everybody, we were disappointed in the way he played at the end of the Northwestern game and up at Penn State on Saturday," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said after the victory over Wisconsin. "We were very disappointed. The good news is he was disappointed."

Green rose to stardom at Michigan State as a role-playing sixth man with a terrific basketball I.Q. and tremendous feel for the game. He was the glue of last year's Final Four team. But he became unglued at Penn State.

Tuesday night against the Badgers, the glue was back.

"You've got to not forget where you came from," Izzo said. "We have done that a little bit. Maybe that's normal. I hate to say that. So it was a slap in our face, and we spent a lot of time talking about it, a lot of time watching film, a lot of time dissecting it. To his credit, he bounced back and did a better job."

Quick Opinion
  • Michigan State grew as a defensive team in this game, with Delvon Roe and Keith Appling coming through as stoppers. Yes, stoppers.

    That adjective hasn't been used to describe a Michigan State defender since the graduation of Raymar Morgan. But Tuesday night against Wisconsin, Roe played long, quick and strong on multi-talented Badger power forward Jon Leur. The nifty-dribbling, 6-foot-10 Leur came into the game averaging 19.3 points per game while shooting a sizzling 46 percent from 3-point range.

    Leur had only 3 three field goals in this game, two of which were scored against Roe. The first was a quick-trigger 3-pointer as part of the early offense. Roe didn't get quite far enough out on him. The second was a bad call by the officials, rewarding Roe with an NBA-style continuation field goal while getting fouled on a nice up-and-under move.

    Leur was 3-of-9 from the field, with Roe continually doing a good job of shadowing Leur's dribble, and extending out on his shot attempts. Leur turned down several chances to go to work offensively against Roe, instead choosing to surrender and kick it back out to a teammate.

    On Wisconsin's final possession of overtime, Izzo instructed Roe to switch onto Badger point guard Jordan Taylor in the event of a ball screen. Roe did, and moved his 6-foot-8 frame rapidly to stay in front of the 6-1 Taylor, forcing a difficult, step-back jumper, which missed.

    "I think that confused Taylor," Izzo said. "He (Roe) did an incredible job late."

    Roe finished with just four points and 5 rebounds in 32 minutes, but the role he played on defense in putting a lid on Leur was championship-quality.

  • Keith Appling was tremendous on defense, as well. Izzo utilized the freshman guard on defense in the late going, in place of Kalin Lucas, in a defense-for-offense substitution pattern. MSU sought to protect Lucas, who had four fouls in the late going.

    Appling clamped up Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor on the Badgers' final possession of regulation. Izzo rewarded Appling with a fired-up shiver to the clavicle when Appling returned to the bench for a time out.

    Appling messed up, however, when he committed a foul 30 feet from the basket with :59 left in overtime, with MSU leading 61-60.

    In all, Appling is a winner on defense. Utilizing Appling as a defense-for-offense sub option at crunch time is something the Spartans can consider using more often, going forward, perhaps as a sub forKorie Lucious rather than Lucas, in such situations.

    By Jim Comparoni

  • Green made a comeback seem probable with a pick-and-pop 3-pointer to cut Wisconsin's lead to 53-47.

    With :47 seconds remaining, and MSU down by 3, Green turned down a pick-and-pop opportunity from 3-point range, and instead drove and kicked out to Korie Lucious for the game-tying field goal. It was the same pass-and-catch combination that led to Lucious's game-winning, buzzer-beating shot which beat Maryland in the Sweet 16 last March.

    Michigan State has been short on happy moments so far this season, and was on the verge of rock bottom, had the visiting Badgers sent MSU to 11-6 and 2-2 in league play. But Green was among several Spartans who implored teammates to keep battling.

    "I was one of the ones saying this game is not over. We still can come back," Green said. "What started it was our defense and that's what got us going.

    "Everybody stuck together. We said we had to stick together before the game no matter how it was going. Usually when you're down nine with under three minutes to go, a lot of teams would give up. We could have given up. But we said we were going to stick together and fight through it. We knew we needed this win bad and we stuck together and fought through it."

    Green had a game-high nine rebounds. He converted a pair of huge put-backs, willing the ball back into the rim at crucial moments. The first of which cut a Badger lead to 43-38 with with 5:44 left, and the second tied the game at 55-55 in overtime

    "I took it (this game) very personally," Green said. "You know, people were saying things about us, but you know, we don't pay attention to those things, we really focus on us. But I took it very personal, saying about myself: 'You're not playing good. You're not bringing the energy that you need to bring to this team.' I took it personal to come out and have a good game."

    Izzo called for a roll-and-replace play for Green on the Spartans' second possession of overtime, and Green canned a 3-pointer from the left wing, giving the Spartans a 58-57 lead with 3:39 lead.

    Green scored MSU's first 8 points of overtime, the last three coming on foul shots.

    "He (Green) can shoot it better from the outside a lot better now, from what I can remember," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan. "So if you can go inside, outside and you're tough going to the glass, it means you are going to get some pretty good numbers."

    Green was 8-of-17 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

    "It's not like he shot a great percentage," Ryan said. "But making those threes, making those 9 points behind the line, those are huge for Michiga State."

    The rest of the Spartans were acombined 2-of-11 from 3-point range.

    "It's not like we said, 'Here, go shoot 'em,'" Ryan said.


    Izzo liked the way the Spartans celebrated in the locker room, the way they stayed confident during game huddles, and the balanced contributions.

    "I played 11 guys and every one of them had a part in it," Izzo said. "Everyone either made a shot, or got a rebound, or helped in a turnover, like Keebs (Mike Kebler).

    "We had so many guys that gave us little things, from Adreian Payne to Sherm to Austin Thornton. When Durrell and Kelin go 5-of-23 and we can still win, that says a lot.

    "I've never seen a bunch of guys get knocked down more times than they got knocked down and in every huddle they still thought they could win.

    "We haven't solved all the problems. We are not ready to take on the world. But we did take a big step in learning about ourselves.

    "Watching in our huddle it was amazing how many guys had a feel for another guy, and that was the most (rewarding) part for me.

    "If you asked the players, they would say (team chemistry) is the best it's been in the last couple of years," Izzo said. "I don't see the huggy-feely warm thins that you need to have to be great, and tonight I saw some of that. And I saw some of that in the locker room. And winning breeds that."


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