Michigan St.-The Citadel Preview
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo might have been displeased with
his team’s latest effort, but he can’t be unhappy about how Raymar
Morgan has played lately.
Based on his performance against The Citadel last season, Morgan
could continue his stellar play for the 12th-ranked Spartans on
Monday night in Charleston, S.C.
After falling at then-No. 10 North Carolina to open this month,
Michigan State (6-2) put together a sluggish performance in a home
win over unheralded Wofford on Friday night. The Spartans fell
behind 9-4 in the first five minutes and led by just two with 12:47
remaining before pulling away for the 72-60 victory.
“Oh, how I wish this was HBO,” Izzo said after the game. “I
thought their team played with a lot of heart. And I don’t think
mine did. … We’ve got a lot of guys not playing very well and
some not playing well at all. We’ve got to start playing for the
name on the front of the uniform and not the name on the back.”
It’s doubtful Izzo was talking about Morgan, who had a
season-high 19 points and 11 rebounds while going 7 for 11 from the
field. Since missing all seven shots in a scoreless performance
against Florida on Nov. 27, the senior forward has averaged 18.0
points and shot 71.0 percent (22 of 31) over the past three
Morgan, who has overcome injuries to both ankles, has a good
chance to continue his resurgence against The Citadel (6-4). He had
one of the best performances of his career as the Spartans beat the
Bulldogs 79-65 at home last season, scoring 26 points on 11-of-12
shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds. Durrell Summers and Chris Allen
added 12 points apiece off the bench.
Morgan also hit three of his four shots and scored 10 points in
Michigan State’s first meeting with The Citadel, a 73-41 win on
Nov. 12, 2006. That was the third game of Morgan’s college
This time, the Spartans will face one of the nation’s best
defensive teams in the Bulldogs, who are allowing 57.2 points per
There’s also plenty of buzz on their campus as they prepare to
host a ranked team for the first time in 11 seasons.
“This is a game that our students, fans and alumni should
embrace and remember for a long time,” coach Ed Conroy told the
school’s Web site. “Michigan State is among college basketball’s
elite every year and we are excited to compete against them in
front of our home fans.”
The Bulldogs, however, are 0-5 all-time at home against AP Top
25 teams and 0-33 overall, including a 69-50 loss at No. 8 West
Virginia on Nov. 24.
Their chances for a monumental upset will likely depend on
whether junior guards Zach Urbanus and Cameron Wells can continue
their respective scoring streaks.
Urbanus is trying to score 20 or more points for the fourth
straight game after leading the team with 20 in Saturday’s 68-43
victory over visiting Georgia Southern. Wells, leading The Citadel
with 17.4 points per game, added 14 to reach double figures for the
14th consecutive game dating to last season.
Wells scored 14 points in last season’s loss to the Spartans,
while Urbanus had three. Swingman Austin Dahn, now a junior, led
the Bulldogs with 17.
In its second consecutive matchup against a Southern Conference
team, Michigan State will try to improve to 7-0 all-time against