Michigan State Spartans defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 85-52


The No. 19 Michigan State Spartans improved to 6-3, 3-0 at home, after easily defeating a bad 1-6 Arkansas-Alpine Bluff 85-52 Saturday afternoon in East Lansing. The win is much-needed for the Spartans, snapping a tough two game losing streak including a heartbreaking one point overtime loss to Notre Dame Wednesday night.

Against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Michigan State hit nearly everything they put up in the first half, shooting 66%, while holding Arkansas to a miserable 23 percent  on 6/26 from the floor.

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The stellar defensive play from MSU continued in the second half as Arkansas continued to be outmatched, finishing the game shooting just 31 percent.

For Michigan State, the offensive did not have the same flow as the first half scoring just 28 points, but managed to finish the game shooting 60 percent, despite their lack of focus in the second half.

Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State was led by senior guard Travis Trice who finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three assist. Contributing to the win was junior transfer Bryn Forbes who connected on four of his seven three-point attempts and finished with 12 points. Matt Costello was a key contributor off the bench, scoring a career high 15 points and five assist, while fellow teammate Denzel Valentine chipped in with eight assist.

Despite having three more losses through nine games this season, statistically this year’s team mirrors last year’s. Through nine games this season, Michigan State is averaging 74 points per game, two less than last season. This year’s team is averaging two less rebounds per game and the assist per game are identical, at 17 per contest. Their three-point percentage is up, but, an area of concern is their free throw percentage. The Spartans are shooting just 64 percent as a team this year.

In fact, they aren’t getting to the line much at all this year; Michigan State is currently 337th in the nation in free-throw attempts and 227th in free throw percentage. Their lack of getting to the line did not affect them against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, moving forward, not getting to the line could be the downfall of this year’s team.

With the loss of many of its leaders from last year’s team, this Spartans team is slowly starting to find its way under head coach Tom Izzo; even with three early loses.

Next up for the Spartans are against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies, December 14.

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