No. 9 Michigan State has been affected by injuries as much as any team in America this season. Branden Dawson’s out with a broken hand, Adreian Payne’s missed time with a foot injury and Keith Appling has a right wrist issue, and those are just three of the injuries that Tom Izzo’s had to account for this season.
On Thursday night the Spartans were without Appling and Dawson, but Panye did return to the court for his first action since a January 7 win over Ohio State. Payne would score 12 points in the 82-67 win over Penn State, with Kenny Kaminski and Denzel Valentine among the standouts for the Spartans.
Kaminski, who’s made multiple visits to Tom Izzo’s doghouse this season, put together his best outing of the season with 19 points in 21 minutes of action. The redshirt freshman connected on seven of his nine shots from the field, shooting 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. And as a team Michigan State made 12 three-pointers, the most they’ve made in a conference game since 2008.
Valentine, known for his versatility and ability to play multiple positions on the floor, tallied 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to help Michigan State account for a 5-for-16 night from Gary Harris. With Appling out of the lineup Valentine became a more important piece for Michigan State on Thursday night, and he rose to the challenge. While some may look at the opponent (Penn State) and decide that there isn’t much to be gained from the result, there’s also the need to have players such as Kaminski and Valentine gain the confidence needed to be key figures moving forward.
Outside of Tim Frazier (9-for-14 FG, 22 points) Penn State struggled to get much going against the Michigan State defense, and the Spartans supplemented their solid defensive effort with a 46% night from the field. At some point (hopefully) Michigan State will return to full strength, but they’ll still need contributions from all members of the rotation.
With Appling out of the lineup and Payne looking to regain his form after missing nearly a month of action, other stepped up to help the Spartans take care of Penn State.
Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson has been known as one of the best dunkers in the country for the last few years. So you knew the 6-foot-6 wing was going to attempt the latest internet dunk craze that’s been going around.
Some call it the, “5-point play” in which the dunker makes a 3-pointer and immediately sprints following the shot release to catch the make for an under-the-legs dunk.
It’s as tough as it sounds and Ferguson makes it look easy.
Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.
The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.
Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.
Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year
“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”
The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.
CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.
The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.
The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.
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