EAST LANSING — The Miami Hurricanes (4-1) shot 56.3 percent from the 3-point line as they upset the No. 13 Michigan State Spartans (5-2) 67-59 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Miami was led in scoring by senior guard Trey McKinney Jones who had 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Sophomore Shane Larkin — son of MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin — added 15 points and shot 3-for-4 from the 3-point line.
The Hurricanes had four players in double-digits out of their eight-man rotation.
Michigan State had 40 turnovers in their previous two games and were able to keep them to a minimum tonight as they only had 11, however, that was the least of their worries.
MSU shot poorly from the free throw line — 45.5 percent on 5-of-11 shooting — and they struggled to keep Miami off the charity stripe as they shot 16-of-18.
Miami did a great job of containing MSU big men Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix holding them to a combined 3-of-10 from the field for seven points and 10 rebounds.
Reggie Johnson is probably the only player in college basketball that makes Nix look like Muggsy Bogues, and the 6-10 292 pound (No way he isn’t more than 300) center dominated the interior with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Michigan State guards Travis Trice and Gary Harris returned after missing time with injuries, and without these two, MSU may have been looking at a much greater deficit.
Trice added nine points off the bench as he went 3-for-3 from downtown. Harris continued to prove why he may not just be the best freshman in the Big Ten, but the best freshman in the country and the best all around player on this MSU team. He added 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench after missing the past three games with a left-shoulder sprain.
Junior guard Keith Appling continued his hot streak scoring the ball as he had 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting with five rebounds, four assists, and three turnovers.
Michigan State basketball has struggled to find their identity thus far in the season. They seem very stagnant on offense at times and they have lacked consistency from Nix and Payne in the paint. The Spartans need to find a way to fit the two big men in the flow of the offense without taking away from the play of Appling and Harris.
The Spartans are a frustrating team to watch. When they play top-tier teams they play them tough, but on the flip-side, they play down to teams of lesser talent.
This teams needs to find motivation from somewhere because as of late they haven’t been playing as if they want to be recognized as one of the forces in college basketball.
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