March 20, 2008

Video: Players react to NCAA win over Temple

DENVER - Michigan State captain Drew Neitzel carried the scoring load for his team in the Big Ten tournament in which he averaged 27 points per game.

But Neitzel learned in the Big Ten tournament that he has to be aggressive when looking for his shot whether it is falling or not. In Michigan State's 72-61 win over Temple on Thursday, Neitzel was just 2 of 11 from the field. But the senior's willingness to shoot was one of the reasons his team was able to advance to Saturday's match-up with Pitt.

"If I am aggressive and looking to score guys are going to step up and that is why you saw some slips and guys getting easy dunks," said Neitzel. "On the first play of the second half, I got that backdoor and everybody collapsed and Drew Naymick got that dunk. Coaches did a great job making some adjustments and that is what you have to do this time of year."

Naymick scored 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting and added 8 rebounds. Naymick had some easy looks at the basket because of the way Temple's defense was engineered to slow down Neitzel.

Naymick and Michigan State's other big men did a good job of setting screens for Michigan State guard and wings. Neitzel only scored 5 points, but he had more open looks in the first half than he saw during most Big Ten games. Raymar Morgan also benefitted from the screens of Naymick and Michigan State's other big men.

"We did a great job setting screens for the most part," said Naymick. "The guards did a great job coming off of screens. Even Drew, I think Drew had a couple of drop-offs to me. He drew a lot of attention from their defense like he does with every team. We did a good job of hitting our slip guys and our slips were open."

Michigan State scored a lot of points on slips in the non-conference season. But during Big Ten play slips have not been available to Michigan State's big men for the most part.

"Especially in the second part of the Big Ten season when Purdue and Wisconsin have seen you twice," said Naymick, "they are very aware of that part of your offense and they do an excellent job of helping out on the weakside. Those haven't been open since pre-season play."

Goran Suton says that the Bradley game was the last time Michigan State was able to score on slips as easy as they did against Temple. Suton gave Neitzel the credit for keeping the Temple defense focused on the perimeter and freeing up Michigan State's frontcourt players.

"Drew Neitzel took a lot of the pressure off us," said Suton. "That allowed us to be open for easy shots, dunks, and lay-ups. He didn't shoot that well, but he got us a lot of open shots."

Morgan led the Spartans with 15 on 7 of 9 shooting. Freshman Chris Allen played Neitzel's role when the senior was on the bench. Allen scored 12 points to finish second in scoring behind Morgan.

Michigan State's three freshmen 28 of Michigan State's 72 points. Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas each scored 8 points apiece.

Summers felt like Michigan State's offense operated at will against Temple.
"These teams don't play in our league, so I knew that our stuff was going to work better than it did in the Big Ten," said Summers. "We just had to follow our scouting report. Our defense helped us out a lot."

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