NEW YORK — I’ve written recently about Michigan State’s ability to absorb a punch. But during this six-game run, opponent’s have only ever landed a blow after being nearly run off the court.
This time, Connecticut did the overwhelming out of the gate. The Huskies jumped out 12-2, while MSU missed 9 of 10 shots to begin the game.
For a moment, I’m not sure MSU believed it was the better team. There was that look of urgency and concern.
Since, the Spartans are 8 of 14 shooting – but they survived with defense. They scored the final nine points of the half, holding UConn scoreless for more than five minutes.
The defense on the perimeter during that stretch — chasing, switching, closing out, locking down — was as impressive as I’ve seen anywhere in college basketball all season.
MSU needed Gary Harris in this game and he’s delivered — 12 points, 5 of 7 shooting, 2 of 4 3s.
UConn makes it difficult on MSU’s bigs, more so than I realized, because the Huskies are athletic and wiry, and Dawson and Payne aren’t natural bulldozers.
That was an incredibly interesting half of basketball. MSU’s played a few of those lately, and keeps winding up ahead.