EAST LANSING - Michigan State coach Tom Izzo usually finds plenty of fault with his team after exhibition games than he did after his No. 2 ranked Spartans doubled up GLIAC foe Saginaw Valley State, 88-44, in front of a crowd of 14,759 at the Breslin Center Tuesday night.
"I thought we played pretty well considering the combinations we had in there," said Izzo. "Kalin (Lucas) started out like a house on fire. He played great. Draymond (Green), I thought played very well early. We didn't get Durrell (Summers) as many shots and I think that is one of the things we will work on."
The exhibition was the first time Kalin Lucas played in a game since injuring his Achilles in the first game of the NCAA Tournament. Lucas led all Michigan State players with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Lucas was 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Lucas is still working to regain his explosive first step. In the meantime, the two-time first-team All-Big Ten point guard is showing a greater reliance on an improved mid-range jumper.
"I think he was as fired up as anybody before the game," said Izzo of Lucas, "just because it has been so long since he has played. I think he is shooting the ball better just because I think he is concentrating on his shot a little bit more. It was fun to watch him, I thought he did a pretty good job."
Draymond Green, Durrell Summers, and true freshman Keith Appling scored 12 points apiece for Michigan State.
Junior Delvon Roe was active on the glass with eight rebounds and eight points. Sophomore Derrick Nix made just one of his first five shots in the opening half. Nix was 2-of-3 from the floor in the second half to finish with nine points off the bench.
"Delvon and Derrick Nix were two guys that didn't play as well early as I have seen them play in practice," Izzo said. "But as I said, they bounced back and everybody did something. Not bad for the first time. That is well coached team that I think will do well in their conference."
Adreian Payne had a strong debut. The 6-foot-10 freshman was 2-of-4 from the floor. The dynamic first-year player scored on a dunk and 3-pointer during a sequence in the second half. Payne also showed outstanding range tracking down rebounds.
After missing a breakaway dunk in the first half, freshman Alex Gauna settled in to score six points. The former Eaton Rapids standout scored his first deuce on a mid-range jumper in the first half. He also cashed in all four of his free-throw attempts.
Michigan State's three true freshmen that played totaled 23 of their team's 36 points off the bench.
"Keith, Alex Gauna, and Adriean all played pretty well at times," Izzo said. "Adriean hit one three so that will probably ruin him for his freshman year. In ways, he took some pretty good shots and had some pretty good rebounds."
Eleven different players scored in the exhibition for the Spartans who shot 53.6 percent (30 of 56) from the floor and 47.4 percent (9 of 19) from 3-point range.
"I thought there was a lot of unselfishness tonight," added Izzo.
Izzo was even pleasantly surprised by his team's defense.
"I thought our defense was pretty good," said Izzo, "considering all of the ball screens that we had to deal with."
Michigan State was without the services of sophomore Garrick Sherman and junior Korie Lucious. Sherman sustained a concussion during practice last week. Lucious is in the midst of a suspension that will last at least one more game.
"Considering we had those two guys out, I think you can see that we do have a lot of depth and quality," said Izzo. "I just thought that everybody made some contributions."