No. 11 Michigan St. 87, Texas-Arlington 68

Kalin Lucas responded to a benching just the way his coach had

hoped.

The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year scored 16 points and his

teammates were there to help in No. 11 Michigan State’s 87-68

victory over Texas-Arlington on Wednesday night in its final

nonconference tuneup.

“He’s a valuable, valuable player for Michigan State and the

Big Ten,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. “I need so much out of

him that I hold him to a different standard.”

A 3-hour meeting between coach and player Tuesday night seemed

to clear the air and left Lucas feeling much better about Izzo.

“He told me I had to lead better and be a better team player,”

Lucas said. “I did need to hear that. I learned that he does care

about me.”

Izzo had also spent a lot of time with Durrell Summers and

Draymond Green, and the results showed there, too, as they combined

for 39 points.

Summers had 20 points, 13 in the first half, and Green added 19

points and seven assists in a balanced attack for the Spartans

(10-3).

“Durrell caught it and shot it, and it looked like it was

always going in,” Izzo said of a player whose confidence wanes.

“He’s a joy to watch when he’s like that.”

Summers attributed the change to positive workouts and some

much-needed bonding after a loss at No. 2 Texas.

“We had a great meeting as a team the other day, too,” said

Summers, who attempted 13 shots and played with passion. “I think

that brought the team a little closer.”

The adding of Green and reserve Isaiah Dahlman to help provide

leadership seemed to take some of the burden off Lucas, who has

been asked to do everything, including sell popcorn, in Izzo’s

words.

“It’s a privilege, a blessing and an honor to be a captain in

this program,” said Green, a sophomore. “But what happened the

other day was more about a title. I was already helping to lead

anyway.”

Lucas was held out of practice Tuesday to spend some time

thinking about his leadership role. He did that and played 29

minutes, as many as any Spartan.

“I was disappointed in the way that was handled,” Izzo said of

the media’s emphasis. “If you want to go on a search and see how

many teams throw guys out of practice, don’t bring a pencil or a

pen. Bring a computer.”

Marquez Haynes, the nation’s No 2 scorer, led the Mavericks

(5-5) with 20 points, 5.2 under his average. Brandon Long added 16

points for Texas-Arlington but was just 6 of 19 from the field.

Michigan State scored the first 12 points of the game, had a

shutout for the first 5:30 and built an 18-2 lead after 6-plus

minutes.

With three starters injured, the Mavericks answered and cut the

16-point lead to six at halftime with six 3s in 12 attempts.

Texas-Arlington trimmed the lead to four points early in the

second half, only to see the Spartans get a run and build their

cushion to 24.

“I’m proud of the way we played tonight,” Texas-Arlington

coach Scott Cross said. “While I am never happy with a loss, and

neither are our players, I thought we played with intensity and did

what we asked the team to do.”

Michigan State shot 50.8 percent from the field, had a 39-29

advantage on the boards and 21-11 in assists.

The Mavericks shot 43.6 percent from the field and were just as

accurate from long range, hitting 10 of 23 tries beyond the arc.

But they committed 22 turnovers.

The Spartans begin their defense of the Big Ten title on

Saturday at No. 25 Northwestern.