Michigan St.-Bowling Green Preview

Although his young team’s upcoming trip doesn’t seem too

daunting, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he’s still wary of

each game left on this season’s schedule.

The 20th-ranked Spartans will try to avoid another lackluster

performance away from home Tuesday night when they visit Bowling

Green for the first time since getting upset there 22 years

ago.

Although it knocked off then-No. 7 Kansas 67-64 in Atlanta on

Nov. 13, Michigan State (9-2) is just 1-2 away from East

Lansing.

The Spartans have averaged 62.7 points on 42.7 percent shooting

outside of their own arena compared with 75.1 points and 50.2

percent shooting in eight home games. They lost 67-59 to Miami in

their last road game Nov. 28.

Those efforts from the Spartans, who have one senior and 11

underclassmen on the roster, are perhaps what drove Izzo to declare

that there aren’t any more easy games left following Saturday’s

92-56 win over Tuskegee.

Michigan State hosts Texas on Saturday before opening Big Ten

play Dec. 31 at No. 13 Minnesota.

“I’m excited that now we move into the point of time in our year

when there are no more games we just should win,” Izzo told the

school’s official website. “Now every game is going to be a

dogfight. It gets a lot tougher.”

Michigan State wouldn’t appear to have a fight in store from

Bowling Green (5-4), a program that’s experienced two winning

seasons since 2001-02 and hasn’t appeared in the NCAA tournament

since 1968.

The Falcons have won four of five at home, with the lone defeat

coming 58-49 to Youngstown State on Dec. 1. They’ve shot no better

than 38.0 percent in each of their three games this month, going 9

of 45 (20.0 percent) from 3-point range.

Bowling Green, though, won the last two of those games by giving

up less than 43 points in each, the first time that’s happened

since Dec. 22-27, 1949. The Falcons defeated Samford 57-42 in their

last game Dec. 8.

Jordon Crawford, who leads the Falcons with 16.3 points per

game, scored a team-best 14 in that win despite missing 13 of 17

shots.

Crawford and A’uston Calhoun, averaging 16.1 points and a

team-best 7.0 rebounds, combined for 23 points and 11 boards in a

74-60 loss at then-No. 21 Michigan State on Dec. 17, 2011.

Derrick Nix and Branden Dawson were among four Michigan State

players to score in double figures in that matchup, but Keith

Appling finished with three. The Spartans leading scorer at 15.5

points per game, Appling heads into this meeting after matching a

career high with 25 points Saturday.

Michigan State has won four straight in the series since a 98-85

loss at Bowling Green on Dec. 1, 1990, when the Spartans were

ranked fifth.

That was Michigan State’s third upset at the hands of the

Falcons, but the Spartans have won the past three meetings when

ranked.