Summers Lights up Breslin

To have a great game "feels real good," Summers said. "As a team, we took a step forward and I think everybody kind of fed off each other."

EAST LANSING — The Spartans kicked off the preseason Wednesday night against Tom Izzo's alma mater Northern Michigan.

But Durrell Summers apparently didn't get the memo that it was only a preseason game.

After watching fellow sophomore Chris Allen score 27 points in the annual Green & White game, Summers decided to get in on the action in a big way by scoring 30 points, many of them in spectacular fashion.

"He's a poor man's Jason Richardson as far as his athleticism," Izzo said after the game, "and he's not that poor."

Summers put that J-Rich-esque athleticism on display, finishing with authority on a fast break pass from freshman Delvon Roe and once again on a monster alley-oop from Austin Thornton.

But it wasn't just dunks that made this performance special: Summers nailed three of his five 3-point attempts on consecutive trips down the court as part of a personal 11-0 scoring run at the end of the first half.

"I tried to do what I could, I had the hot hand so I was just staying composed and taking open shots and I had a good night," Summers said.

His jaw-dropping numbers may steal the headlines, but equally impressive was Summers' improvement on the defensive side of the ball. His versatility stood out the most. Izzo played him when the offense was going big, with Goran Suton or Idong Ibok in the frontcourt, and when they went smaller with Raymar Morgan and Roe.

"Durrell is big enough to cover some guys, 3-men, maybe even a 4-man, and he can cover a point guard because he's athletic enough and long enough, so I think he's a big asset for us," Izzo said.

Being a big asset means playing a much larger role this upcoming season as well, and for that, Izzo does not temper his expectations.

"I think (Summers) will play a big role because he can defend, he's a great offensive rebounder, he's improved his shooting, he's gotten better with the ball," Izzo said. "He's one of the guys that has definitely made some strides, we've just got to keep him injury free. … I'm expecting big things out of Durrell, real big."

While this performance did come against a Division II opponent that recently had three of its top six players dismissed by the NCAA, it shows how balanced and ready the Spartans, especially Summers, are for the season ahead.

If players like Summers, Allen and Korie Lucious can step in and fill the scoring void left by Drew Neitzel, and the frontcourt can rebound consistently, there is no reason the Spartans can't be dancing in Motown come March.

To have a great game "feels real good," Summers said. "As a team, we took a step forward and I think everybody kind of fed off each other."

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