|Russell Byrd hits the shot of his life against Iowa. (The Gazette)|
The biggest highlight is 11th-man Russell Byrd's 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining in OT that gave MSU a 70-64 and kind of sealed the win. (It would have sealed the win had the Spartans not missed three of four free throws in the final 17 seconds). Byrd's shot - the biggest of his often-injured MSU career - was reminiscent of bench workhorse Tim Bograkos' 3-pointer with less than a minute left that lifted MSU to a 71-67 win over Kentucky in 2002 at Rupp Arena. [VIDEO shows the clip starting at the nine-second mark].
The Byrd story is pretty simple: He was recruited by the likes of Kentucky because he was a phenomenal high school shooter. Multiple foot surgeries have derailed his career as much as his inability to hit open triples that he's said to be making consistently in practice and shootarounds. He went from a potential key bench guy for Tom Izzo to an 9th-man-in-the-rotation guy to a de facto practice squad leader. MSU's recent injuries and Byrd's improved defense are really the only reason he's been able to get on the floor lately. He then finally hits the shot he was recruited to hit night after night.
Here's the defensive score sheet from MSU's 71-69 overtime thriller in a rockin' Iowa City:
- It doesn't take these numbers to tell you Matt Costello played the game of his life. Izzo said as much in his post-game press conference but the fact Costello was so much better than any other Spartan tells you that he was probably MSU's MVP. As much as Iowa drove the basket and got great looks at the hoop on some curl plays Costello forced seven misses near the hoop and allowed just one basket - Iowa's first field goal of the game by Adam Woodbury.
- People can get on Gary Harris all they want for having a poor offensive game (nine points) but he was obviously the key focus for Iowa's defense (more on that below). However, what makes Harris such an intriguing NBA player is he's so skilled defensively as well and if one part of his game is off he doesn't let it affect the other. Harris seemed to switch to guarding Roy Devyn Marble in the second half - a half Marble did score four field goals in, just 2.33 of which were credited to Harris - but he wasn't the gamechanger he was in the first half. That's mostly because of Harris.
- I'm not sure I've ever seen a defensive score sheet where every player from a team was responsible for the opposition making at least one free throw. Of course, Iowa's aggressiveness coupled with some interesting officiating can really explain it better.
|Iowa's ability to attack the rim drew plenty of MSU fouls (29)|
and allowed Iowa to win the free throw points battle 30-11. (AP)
- Roy Devyn Marble was Iowa's MVP hands down. Offensively he was unstoppable for much of the game (21 points on 7-for-15 shooting) and defensively he was in charge of blanketing Harris. He did everything well and Iowa will win much more than they will lose, especially in the NCAA Tournament, if Marble plays like this night in and night out.
The Defensive Score Sheet Project's initial explanation is here. More concise explanations are in this post, but here is a short rundown:
- Min - Minutes played
- DREB - Defensive Rebounds
- FM - Forced field goal miss (includes blocks)
- FTO - Forced Turnover (steals, charges taken)
- FFTA - Forced missed Free Throw Attempt
- DFGM - Allowed Defensive Field Goal Made
- DFTM - Allowed Free Throw Made
- DRtg - Defensive Rating (Gives players credit for stops and scoring possessions)
*The DRtg is most important part of a defensive score sheet as it is the analog of an offensive rating. If a player was on the floor for 100 of his team's defensive possessions, the DRtg calculates the number of points the opposition would score.