Five Things We Learned in a loss to MSU



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Last updated: 01/08/2014 0:17 AM
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Men's Basketball
Five Things We Learned in an Overtime Loss at East Lansing
By John Porentas

1) Amir Williams doesn't have a whole lot left to prove. Williams is not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but there have been doubters, and justifiably so. Until tonight he had yet to show much in a big game against good competition. He did that, particularly on the defensive end of the court. He will undoubtedly have his ups and downs yet, but there can be no doubt now that he has what it takes. When he was out of the game MSU center Adreian Payne owned the baseline and had two big dunks. When Amir came back onto the floor Payne disappeared. Williams had a game-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points and three blocked shots. This game can only help his confidence and help propel him to bigger and better things.

2) You can't ever give up on this team. They fell a little short against MSU, but a lot of teams are going to do that in East Lansing. Their late-game rally that erased a 17-point deficit in the last 7:44 of the half showed all the heart you could ever hope for in a basketball team. They seem to have a chemistry that results in a never-say-die attitude, and you have to love that.

3) Marc Loving has arrived. The freshman from Toledo has had his moments so far this season, both positive and negative as you might expect from a freshman, but tonight he was on the floor at crunch time and delivered like a veteran. He has a confidence in his game that players often take a year or maybe two to develop. Loving was not awed by the venue or the moment. He is already a good one. If he keeps getting better the way he has done so far, he will be a great one.

4) LaQuinton Ross needs to be more than just a scorer. He was ineffective as a scorer against against MSU with just five points. When his scoring wasn't there, he couldn't contribute in other ways. He had just two rebounds and his defense was not exactly rock solid. The Spartans did a great job defending him, and I think that got into his head and affected his overall game. LaQuinton needs to find other ways to contribute if he wants to stay on the floor on the nights when his offense isn't there.

5) Thad isn't afraid to tinker with his lineup this year. He seems to have found a new confidence in his bench and isn't afraid to try different combinations during the game. He ended up benching both Ross and Lenzelle Smith late in the game because Loving and Sam Thompson were more effective on this night. Thad has more buttons to push this year, and he hasn't been afraid to push them. That he would do it in a big game like this one speaks volumes about his confidence in his bench.

Bonus: Turnovers killed the Buckeyes. MSU made some threes that really hurt the Buckeyes, and that's a credit to them. The real killer for OSU though was their turnovers. You can't turn the ball over 19 times and expect to win on the road. It was really remarkable they were still in it with that many miscues, but what we learned is that they can't turn the ball over like that and expect to win. They just aren't good enough to do that.

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