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MSU men’s basketball: Loss of Harris looms large for Spartans

The big guys in the paint and Keith Appling rescued MSU when things got tight in the second half against Oakland. The rest of the Spartans showed that the loss of Gary Harris could take some time to work through.

Even though MSU won 70-52 against Oakland and survived in the second half against Boise State without Harris, the freshman guard is proving vital to what the Spartans want to accomplish this season. He’s been their second-best shooter from 3-point range, he doesn’t turn the ball over and he plays sound fundamental defense for a first-year player.

MSU rotated players at the 2-guard against Oakland to find Harris’ replacement. Russell Byrd went 1 for 5 from 3-point range and committed four turnovers. His minutes vanished in the second half as Denzel Valentine settled in after a shaky start with three turnovers. Appling rotated there at times. Branden Dawson had to move to the small forward spot and turned the ball over five times.

Twenty turnovers as a team. Just 3 of 11 shooting from 3-point range.

Oakland’s poor shooting certainly helped overcome some of MSU’s own deficiencies. But until Harris returns from his sprained shoulder – and even when he returns, because those type of injuries can sometimes linger and affect shooters – the Spartans will need to find that complimentary perimeter presence for alongside Appling.

Maybe it was just a turkey hangover from Thanksgiving that caused some of that lethargy, but MSU will need to tighten things up for Sunday when Louisiana-Lafayette comes to Breslin Center.

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6 Responses to MSU men’s basketball: Loss of Harris looms large for Spartans

  1. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    I think that, without Harris, losing in Minneapolis is quite likely.

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      He’ll be back for the big ten opener, just watch.

      Come on Chris, if any team lost their starting shooting guard, and also a backup guard in Trice, don’t you think any team would struggle a little bit? MSU will be fine. We all have faith in Izzo to figure it out, plus Trice should be back shortly too.

    • avatar Spartan in Los Angeles says:

      Harris should be back by the Texas game and back in rhythym in January.

  2. avatar Tobacco Road Spartan says:

    Not a word about Valentine’s double-double? He’s going to be a player, dare I say the next Day-Day from a basketball intelligence standpoint.

    • avatar MSUBeachwalker says:

      And close to a triple double. His ball handling, once he settled in, was a treat to watch. I think you’re right on with your comparison.

  3. avatar Ben Green says:

    While Harris is out it gives others the opportunity to develop and that’s a positive for the team in the long run.

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