The Spartans were plagued by a poor shooting performance, shooting 21-of-52 from the field and 9-of-30 from three. Gary Harris led the Spartans in scoring with 20 points, but was 7-for-16 from the floor, including 4-of-10 from three. Keith Appling and Travis Trice struggled in the backcourt, going a combined 0-for-7 from three. Appling was 3-of-9 from the floor overall for seven points and Trice was held scoreless. Michigan State had a lot of good, open looks, but nothing seemed to fall.
It wasn’t just a poor shooting performance from the field, as the Spartans were 9-of-16 from the free-throw line. If the Spartans had made their free throws, it would have been a different game. Harris continued to struggle at the free-throw line, missing three attempts. Harris, an 80 percent free-throw shooter on the year, is shooting just over 55 percent in the past three games. In those games, the Spartans are 1-2. Harris needs to shoot batter for the Spartans to win.
Michigan State was also out rebounded, which is uncharacteristic of a Tom Izzo-coached team.
If Michigan State wants to win the Big Ten and make a run in March, the Spartans will have to avoid another performance like this game. Part of problem could be solved with the return of Adreian Payne and Brandon Dawson, a pair of starters out with injury. They both are strong on the glass and provide two more scoring threats.
Georgetown does deserve a lot of credit though. The Hoyas made 75 percent of their free throws and hit their shots down the stretch. Markel Starks finished with 16 points, including some big shots at the end of the game, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was 8-of-9 on free throws. Making free throws was really the difference in the game.
In the long run, the loss won’t affect the Spartans much. It has no effect on the Big Ten race and should serve as a wake up call for Michigan State. If the Spartans learn from their mistakes and get healthy, they should be able to rebound and be a contender in March.