Michigan State 96, EMU 66 recap
Well, that game was about what we all figured it would be.
- Up-tempo. Specifically, that was an 89-possession ball game. Unfortunately, that means that the Eagles were terribly inefficient, scoring just 0.74 points per possession.
- The Brandon Bowdry Show. By my count he hit a double-double with 11:28 remaining in the game. Piling up 32 points and 15 rebounds on the #2 team in the country is pretty good. From what I see, he set a career-high in points (previous high was 26, which he’d hit thrice), and tied his career-high in rebounds (which he’d also hit thrice previously). Against the #2 team in the country. And the three-point shots — wow! If you tell me you expected Bowdry to hit 5 of 8 three-point shots, you are lying. No one, maybe not Charles Ramsey, maybe not even Bowdry himself, expected that kind of long-range shooting from him.
- Michigan State outplayed EMU in pretty much every statistical category. The biggest differences were in field-goal and free-throw shooting percentage. The Spartans outshot the Eagles 52.5% to 31.6% in field goals and 66.7% to 38.9% in free throws.
- EMU fouled an awful lot, considering that the game wasn’t particularly close, and that it was pretty well out of reach with about 10 minutes to go.
- EMU’s lineup was about what I figured. The Eagles really don’t have a lot of size, but either Balkema or Janton has got to step up and provide more of an inside presence. When your centers combine for 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 6 fouls in 20 minutes played, you’ve got a problem.
So what do we take away from this?
EMU was clearly outmatched against the #2 team. This will be the toughest game they play this year, at least in the regular season. EMU never led, but they did keep it respectable for 26 minutes, until a 10-0 Spartan run put the game truly out of reach. Especially when you consider the level of the opponent, I think this performance puts Bowdry in (very, very) early consideration for the MAC Player of the Year, and I think this EMU team has the potential to contend for a MAC title. The one caveat to those statements, and it’s a big one, is that the shooting — both free throw and field goal — must improve.