The Spartans have been on Christmas break and may have seen the affects on the offensive end of the court as they struggled at times against Tennessee Tech.
Maurice Ager scored 17 of his 23 in the second half. In the first half it was ugly for the Spartans on the offensive end of the court. At one point they failed to score for almost a 7-minute period.
After the game coach Izzo said, "We looked like a team coming off a 4-day break and weren't very sharp or efficient offensively."
Coach Izzo feels that Christmas break is a great time to get his players a chance to work on a lot of things in the gym. After finals are over, players have more time to think about basketball and he believes they still have a long way to come before they get into a difficult Big Ten schedule.
In the first half, the Spartans only managed to shoot just over 35 percent from the field. At the break they still led by a score of 28-25 but it didn't help that they turned the ball over 12 times.
The Spartans started Marquise Gray at power forward tonight. Coach Izzo has said that he has been looking for him to play much harder and Gray responded with a lot of intensity. Gray scored 10 points and had nine rebounds including two electrifying dunks.
Michigan State didn't see the type of offensive performances they are used to out of Shannon Brown and Paul Davis. Brown had 13 points and eight rebounds while Davis had a quiet night with only 10 points and six rebounds.
Michigan State had a much more balanced attack with all five of its' starters in double digits including Drew Neitzel who had 14 points and shot 2-3 from behind the arc.
Derek Stribling, who had 18 points, led the Golden Eagles and Keyon Boyd added 11 points. They were successful on defense containing the Spartans' fast break and were able to force some turnovers in the first half and were able to capitalize on offense.
In the second half the Spartans picked it up on the offensive end of the court by shooting 57 percent from the field. They also were able to get to the line 35 times and the Golden Eagles only manufactured 12 attempts.
Michigan State will continue to prepare for their first Big Ten game at Illinois next week. They conclude their non-conference schedule with a game against Coppin State on New Year's Eve at the Breslin Center.