No Dawson, No Ellis, No Problem for Spartans

With Alvin Ellis still nursing a sprained ankle and Branden Dawson out with the flu, Michigan State needed somebody to step up for the Spartans.

True freshman Marvin Clark Jr. did just that in MSU’s 79-52 blowout of Santa Clara University.

Clark started for the ailing Dawson and scored the game’s first three points. This was the beginning of a 17-2 run by the Spartans to start the game.

“We didn’t match their intensity, I think they hit us first and us being a young team, didn’t respond,” Santa Clara’s Brandon Clark said.

Clark Jr. finished the game with 15 points and four rebounds.

“We got some things out of [Clark Jr.] offensively,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said, “But running the court, we were just all out of whack”

Michigan State as a whole played a rock solid first half. Gavin Schilling led the team with eight points. The Spartan defense was the real story of the period. MSU held the Broncos to just 5-30 shooting and 14 points in the half.

The second half was less dominant for State. The team struggled to move the basketball and missed several open looks. The team shot just over 38 percent in the half and had seven turnovers.

“I think it comes a little bit from fatigue, a little bit from not playing together and a little bit of guys [needing] to realize they have to stop being so casual,” Izzo said.

Aside from the turnovers, Michigan State showed many bright spots. The team assisted on 22 of 29 shots and got positive contributions from a variety of players. Clark Jr., Schilling, Denzel Valentine, Bryn Forbes and Travis Trice all finished in double figures with both Schilling and Valentine recording double-doubles.

Schilling had career highs in both points and rebounds with 14 and 11 respectively.

“Playing more minutes helps me get more comfortable and gain more confidence, and tonight I felt confident and comfortable,” Schilling said.

The Spartans continue play in the Orlando Classic Friday night as they begin a stretch of three games in four days against Rider University. Tip is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone for Impact Spots

Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports