The Spartans met the Ivy League’s Columbia Lions on Friday night in East Lansing. It is a huge change of pace after playing the No. 1 team in the nation just the other night. Not to say that Columbia is bad by any means, but they are not the caliber of Kentucky and are a team that the Spartans were expected to beat. Coach Tom Izzo has never lost a home game in November with the Spartans and was looking for that streak to continue.
After starting their season 2-0, the Spartans chose this night to show us just how vulnerable they can be. Was it the fact that they were over-confident after their win over Kentucky and just weren’t playing their best, or could it be that Columbia was upset-minded and was playing at their very best? I think it was a little of both.
Columbia had a 26-22 lead over the Spartans at halftime.
Michigan State started the game on a 9-0 run, but ended up playing so poorly in the first half that their intimidation factor of being one of the top teams in the nation was gone. Columbia’s field goal percentage (39 percent) was higher than the Spartans’ 35 percent; the Spartans did not make a three in the first half, while Columbia made four; Columbia out-rebounded them 17-13; and the most important of all, both teams had eight turnovers in the first half. What’s so important about that? Well, Michigan State only had seven turnovers in the whole game against Kentucky. Turnovers can kill even the best of teams. It’s the great teams who can overcome those mistakes and still find a way to win.
Michigan State continued their struggles into the second half. It looked as if they would never get back on track. Senior Adreian Payne was the hero, stepping up and leading the Spartans to a 52-51 lead at 5:47 in the second half and they never looked back. The Spartans won 62-53 and Payne finished the game with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Michigan State proved just how great of a team they are by showing their vulnerability, making some big mistakes and overcoming those mistakes to get the win.
Sometimes a team has to show their vulnerability to prove just how good they really are.