January 6, 2008

Video: Lucas gets his first taste of Big Ten basketball

EAST LANSING - Fresh off back-to-back stellar performances against Texas and Wisconsin Green-Bay, Michigan State freshman point guard Kalin Lucasopened the Big Ten season with a splash scoring 17 points and adding 3 assists in his first league game.

Lucas says he is playing with confidence on both ends of the floor now that he has adjusted to the pace of the college game and begun to develop chemistry with his teammates.

"I am used to playing at the college speed and I am getting a little bit more feel for the game," said Lucas. "I am gaining confidence from coming out here every night and just competing."

After facing Minnesota, Lucas has a better idea of why he and his teammates need to compete every time they take the court.

"They came out with a lot of energy and they tried to deny us a lot," Lucas said of Minnesota. "We just had to stay focused and keep that energy."

Lucas said that Michigan State's veterans had warned the younger players about the Big Ten wars during the week leading up to the Big Ten opener.

"The upperclassmen and the coaches have been telling us all week that the Big Ten is no joke," said Lucas. "They said it was going to be more intense and that we would have to bring more energy and not have any stops."

Lucas combined with Raymar Morgan to carry the Spartans in scoring. But Lucas also made his presence felt on the defensive end of the court. With Minnesota trailing by just a point, 58-57, late in the second half the former Orchard Lake St. Mary's star picked the pocket of Lawrence McKenzie and drove the length of the court before getting hacked on a lay-up attempt. Lucas then buried both free throws to give the Spartans a three-point lead and halt Minnesota's momentum.

"That play was after a timeout," said Lucas. "Our coaches told us we had to dig and get a defensive stop. I just read the defense and came up with the steal."

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