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Michigan State Looks To Rebound From Duke Loss Versus Bowling Green

(Preview from The Sports Network)

GAME NOTES: The sixth-ranked Michigan State Spartans welcome the Bowling Green Falcons to the Breslin Center in East Lansing for today's non-conference clash.

Bowling Green has lost six of its first seven games, and now has the unenviable task of taking on an ornery Michigan State squad, which is coming off a narrow defeat at the hands of top-ranked Duke. The Falcons are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, although they came close to stopping that last Sunday, falling by a single point (56-55) to Albany in the final round of the Legends Classic in Detroit. BGSU will open Mid-American Conference play at Buffalo on January 8th.

As stated, Michigan State is coming off a tough loss at No. 1 Duke (84-79), which saddled coach Tom Izzo's club with its second loss of the season -- the other coming in the Maui Invitational against Connecticut (70-67). The Spartans hope for a return to the win column today, as they will face No. 8 Syracuse in New York City on Tuesday, and still has a home bout with Texas looming (December 22nd) before kicking off Big Ten Conference play against Minnesota on New Year's Eve.

Michigan State leads the all-time series with Bowling Green, 8-3, and the last meeting between the two took place in 2000 with the then-top-ranked Spartans prevailing in an 85-69 final. Interestingly enough, all three BGSU wins in the series came against ranked Michigan State teams, while seven of its eight losses came when the Spartans were unranked.

Cameron Black logged a double-double and two other Falcons scored in double figures, but it wasn't enough as Bowling Green fell in heart-breaking fashion to Albany last Sunday, 56-55. Black hit 6-of-9 shots from the floor to finish with 14 points, and he corralled 10 rebounds as well for BGSU, which made good on only 4-of-21 three-point tries, 42.6 percent of its field goal attempts in all. Scott Thomas added 13 points, six boards and six assists, while Dee Brown chipped in with 12 points. The Falcons allowed the Great Danes to hit just 33.8 percent of their total shots, and only 24.2 percent of their three-point tries. The last game was pretty indicative of the struggles coach Louis Orr's team has endured all year, as it averages just 59.3 ppg on 36.9 percent field goal efficiency, which includes a dismal 24 percent showing from beyond the arc. The Falcons have played well defensively though, yielding a mere 65.7 ppg through seven games. Brown and Thomas are the only two players averaging double digits in scoring at present, with both netting 10.6 ppg.

Despite 20 points from Korie Lucious, and double figures from three others, the Spartans fell short in their bid to knock off top-ranked Duke earlier in the week. Lucious, who did his best in the 28 minutes he played coming off the bench, also handed out eight assists. Draymond Green poured in 16 points, blocked three shots and logged three steals, but he was guilty of a team-high five turnovers. Kalin Lucas tallied 14 points, but went just 5-of-13 from the floor, while Durrell Summers chipped in 11 points for MSU, which shot 49.2 percent from the floor, making good on 9-of-17 three-point tries along the way. Unfortunately, the Spartans committed 20 turnovers from which the Blue Devils scored 28 points, and the home team also claimed a substantial 29-8 edge in points from the foul line. Despite the off night, Lucas is still the team's top scorer with his 17.0 ppg, and he and Summers (14.6 ppg) both have a dozen treys to their credit. Green is averaging a near double-double with his 14.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest for a Michigan State squad that owns favorable margins in scoring (+8.9) and rebounding (+2.6), but is in the negative in terms of turnovers (-1.7).

There is no denying which is the better team in this matchup. Don't expect the Falcons to hang around long as Izzo empties his bench in the second half.

GAME NOTES: The sixth-ranked Michigan State Spartans welcome the Bowling Green Falcons to the Breslin Center in East Lansing for today's non-conference clash.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Breslin Center (14,759) -- East Lansing, Michigan. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: BGSU 1-1, MSU 3-0. Away Record: BGSU 0-3, MSU 0-1. Neutral Record: BGSU 0-2, MSU 2-1. Conference Record: BGSU 0-0, MSU 0-0. Series Record: Michigan State leads, 8-3.

Michigan State 87, Bowling Green 59