A balanced attack by the Tar Heels, led by Kennedy Meeks off the bench with 15 points and 7 rebounds, defeated the injury-plagued Spartans on a Wednesday night in East Lansing.
The Spartans (7-1, 6-1 at home) could not get anything rolling on offense the whole game. This team goes as
Branden Dawson goes, and he wasn’t going tonight. Dawson finished with his worst game of the season–a season low 2 points and 3 rebounds. The Spartans were led by Gary Harris, who continues his cold shooting with 17 points on 5-15 shooting. He was also bothered by an ankle injury throughout the game which he tweaked on a drive in the second half. Adreian Payne was affected by cramps throughout this one, and seemed to be about 80% of his usual self at times. He finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds. The only other player in double figures was Keith Appling, who ended up with 13 points on 5-15 shooting, also. He, too, was injured on a hard fall in the first half with a hip pointer. Luckily, he returned a couple minutes later, but the Tar Heels were too much in the second half for the Spartans.
The Tar Heels had 5 players in double figures in this one. Marcus Paige struggled from the field (4-14, 2-9 3 pt.) but finished with 13 points and 5 assists. JP Tokoto was his usual energetic and athletic self on way to a double-double from the wing with 12 points and 10 rebounds. And Brice Johnson has continued his stellar play off the bench for North Carolina, chipping in with 14 points and 6 boards. North Carolina simply wanted it more than Michigan State. Roy Williams had no answers of his teams performance after the game.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.” Well, neither do I.
It seems like this team is the definition of inconsistent. Falling on the road to UAB after dismantling Louisville, and now a similar dismantling of the number one team on their home court? How could anybody have seen this coming?
The Spartans will regroup. Izzo will have this team ready for March. It’s a learning process for each team Izzo feeds throughout the season. Feeding his knowledge and having the players buy-in. It’s a process that Izzo has almost perfected that takes five months of grinding to go where Izzo wants them to.
If there’s one thing Michigan State fans shouldn’t do right now, it’s panic.