MSU men’s basketball: Spartans vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (update: 38-12 MSU at half)

It’s another small lineup for MSU as they face the well-traveled Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions.

The 19th-ranked Spartans are expected to bring Adreian Payne off the bench again, with Branden Dawson starting at the small forward spot and Derrick Nix at center. Keith Appling, Denzel Valentine and Gary Harris will occupy the perimeter in the three-guard lineup.

Pine Bluff (1-6) is playing its fifth straight road game and sixth in their last seven outings. Their BCS-conference road swing has included blowout losses at Washington State, Arizona State, Oregon and San Diego State.

It’ll be interesting to see how MSU coach Tom Izzo manages his rotation tonight after promising to trim minutes for some players. Might actually be the only thing to watch in this one, as Pine Bluff is only scoring 54 points while allowing 71 a game.

Follow me on Twitter (@chrissolari or along the right rail of the blog) and check back here at halftime and after the final buzzer for more analysis.

HALFTIME – MSU 38, Pine Bluff 12

It took a last-second 3-pointer for the Golden Lions to reach double digits here. They look like a really tired bunch right now, and the Spartans have too much talent and energy for Pine Bluff.

MSU didn’t look spectacular early against APB’s 2-3 zone, turning the ball over too much and struggling to hit from deep and missing its first seven 3-point attempts. However, the Spartans settled in and finished the half by making three of their last four from deep.

Gary Harris has nine points to lead the Spartans, while Branden Dawson, Adreian Payne and Travis Trice each have six. MSU is outrebounding APB 27-12 overall, and the Spartans have 10 offensive boards.

To sum it up, this thing is going pretty much as expected.

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7 Responses to MSU men’s basketball: Spartans vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (update: 38-12 MSU at half)

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Thanks Chris suffocating defense , MSU looks like its found its rotation tonight, really attachitn the glass.

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:


    Has anyone noticed that the center of the Sports Universe has shifted to Arkansas this week?

  3. avatar SteveL says:

    Not impressed with what I saw. Sloppy ball handling. Errant throws into double teams, hesitation on wide open shots. Not the type of play I would like to see with Big Ten season 3 weeks away. This team is going to have to clean things up considerably or we will be rolled come Big Ten matchups.

  4. avatar Spartan 81 says:


    Two things I take away from this game, first I think this team learned how to attack a zone effectively tonight in the high post. Also key was Trice showing how to extend space , I think that was key.

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      The 19 turnovers, though, are inexcusable. Many of them were simply the result of MSU’s own sloppy play. Trice (12 points, 5 assists) and Harris (13 points) both looked good, though. Good to get a W without much from Appling (9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists).

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        I counted 5 T/O’s that were just plain lazy passes and a few that weren’t T/O’s in this game that will be against B1G teams.

        Don’t know if that is the real SteveL or the DHSFB Silverman, but his point about getting rolled up by Minny the first game out is valid.

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