East Lansing, MI (Sports Network) - The 19th-ranked Michigan State Spartans
will attempt to stay unbeaten at the Breslin Center this season, as they play
host to the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions on Wednesday night.
It has been a rough start to the 2012-13 campaign for UAPB, with its only win
in seven tries coming against Maryland-Eastern Shore in its final game at the
Outrigger Hotels and Resort Rainbow Classic in Hawaii (62-52). Since that win,
the Lions have dropped four in a row, all on the road, most recently in an
80-59 decision against Oregon.
Michigan State lost its opener to UConn in Germany (66-62), but it was able to
reel off five consecutive wins before traveling to Miami-Florida and suffering
a 67-59 defeat on Nov. 28. The Spartans got back on the winning track in their
latest bout against Nicholls State with a dominating 84-39 victory.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
It has been a sluggish start for UAPB to say the least, as it shoots a lowly
35.5 percent from the floor in netting a meager 54 ppg. The team showed great
improvement against Oregon last Saturday, making 23-of-51 shots from the field
(.451), but it still produced just 59 points in the blowout loss. Mitchell
Anderson tallied 16 points, two blocks, and two assists in the setback, while
DeVon Haynes scored 12 points and Lazabian Jackson chipped in with 10. Jackson
has been the Lions' most productive player with 12.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.4 apg,
and 1.7 spg, but he has struggled from beyond the arc, making good on fewer
than 20 percent of his three-point attempts. Terrell Kennedy adds 11.4 ppg,
but he too struggles from the field (.333). Haynes (11.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and
Anderson (8.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg) bring stability to the frontcourt.
The Spartans were outstanding in their recent win over Nicholls State,
shooting a season-high 60 percent from the field while allowing a season-low
39 points. Eleven players scored in the victory, paced by Keith Appling with
13 points and six assists. Adreian Payne saw significant minutes off the bench
and responded with 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, and Denzel
Valentine and Gary Harris tacked on 11 points apiece. The outstanding team
effort only added to a stellar start to the season at the offensive end for
MSU, which shooter better than 48 percent from the floor. Appling has been
fantastic with 16.1 ppg while handing out 4.4 apg. The junior guard makes
nearly 43 percent of his three-point attempts and has also been impressive
from the foul line (.816). Harris (11.8 ppg) is a high-efficiency guard (.509
FG percentage) and Branden Dawson adds 10.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and a team-best 2.4
spg. In addition to a sound offensive attack, Michigan State plays solid
defense (57.4 ppg), and it outrebounds opponents by more than 10 boards per
The Sports Network