Spartans Performance Vs. Purdue Worrisome

"I've been telling you for a couple of weeks that I wasn't pleased. Tonight, you got an eyeful of why." --Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

This one wasn't pretty.

Still, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo can use his team's 78-75 win over Purdue at the Breslin Center last night for coaching material, but this is curious stuff.

Just what is going on with senior Drew Neitzel? Neitzel continued his shooting slump, this time chipping in just nine points on 3-of-8 shooting and just two free throws.

Neitzel appears to be thinking more and hesitating to shoot even though his team needs his range from the perimeter to keep opposing defenses honest.

Thankfully for the Green-and-White, they've gotten the production they were hoping for from a pair of freshman. Kalin Lucas, who despite an erratic floor game (five assists, seven turnovers) continues to exude leadership and confidence leading the Spartans with 16 points last night.

Durrell Summers, arguably the most athletic hoopster MSU has fielded in years, scoring 15 on 4-of-5 shooting and chipping in with three rebounds.

Those two offset the lack of scoring by Neitzel and are taking baby steps en route to being ready to contribute the bigger games that will inevitably come later in the season.

Then there's Raymar Morgan, the sophomore sensation who commentator Tim McCormick called the best player in the Big Ten.

Morgan, coming off a sensational 31 point performance over Minnesota, had a more pedestrian, but still solid 14-point, 7 rebound outing against Purdue.

But if Spartans basketball is anything, it's getting after it on the backboard and Michigan State outrebounded Purdue 33 to 22, a feat which likely won them the game last night.

"The stats were very misleading," Izzo said in his postgame press conference. "It was probably the strangest game I've ever seen that way. But I've been telling you for a couple of weeks that I wasn't pleased. Tonight, you got an eyeful of why." The coach is right, the Spartans are living dangerously.

Even if they manage to get through a trip to Iowa City against the (7-8) Hawkeyes, a showdown looms in East Lansing next Tuesday night against a much tougher Ohio State (11-3) squad.

While the play of the freshmen is nice and the consistency of Morgan is solid, Izzo would like to be able to rely on his upperclassmen like Goran Suton, Travis Walton and Neitzel to show the way.

Until they do, a whole lot of Spartans fans are on going to be on pins and needles.

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