Senior forward Adreian Payne was named the Big Ten Player of the Week today. It came as no surprise given his play on Saturday afternoon’s win over the Texas Longhorns. Payne led the Spartans with career high numbers in scoring, and helped dominate the final few minutes after the Longhorns were in control for most of the game.
Payne scored 33 points in the game, shooting 10-13, 2-5 from beyond the arch, and shooting 11-12 at the free-throw line. He also notched nine rebounds and two assists.
"This is probably Adreian Payne's best game of his life and definitely of his Michigan State career," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "We went to him just about every time and he delivered almost every time, with the way he shot from the field, from the 3-point line, from the free throw line, getting nine boards. He did a heck of a job."
After going into halftime trailing by two, the Spartans knew they had to step up offensively and on the boards to get ahead. Texas is known for their efficient rebounding, averaging 10 more than the Spartans. In the end the Spartans totaled 43 boards over the Longhorns’ 33.
The Spartans early struggles were somewhat due to the limitations of senior guard Keith Appling, who has been battling a hip injury. He didn’t fail to recognize the play of his teammates as Izzo pointed out later.
"Listening to him after the game, thanking the guys for picking him up was maybe as big a part of this as the win," Izzo said. "We came down here Thursday night because of plane issues. I wasn't really happy about that but it turned out to be really good because we got to spend a little team time. I think our team grew a little bit."
Branden Dawson stepped up certainly with his double-double figures. He notched 11 points and 10 rebounds along with two assists.
Sophomore Gary Harris contributed off the bench with 19 points, shooting 10-11 from the free-throw line and notching five assists.
In the last few minutes of the second half, the Spartans broke away and took the lead for good on a 14-2 run, and continued to dominate on the glass and keep the cushioned lead. MSU outscored Texas in the second half, 56-40 in what turned out to be the most lopsided win the Spartans have ever gad over Texas.
The next game for the Spartans will be on Saturday the 28th when they host the New Orleans Privateers.
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