January 17, 2009

Video: Walton, Lucas, Gray fuel gritty win over Illini

EAST LANSING - Michigan State's 63-57 win over Illinois was not pretty, but it provided evidence that this group of Spartan basketball players have the ability to grind out a win when called upon to do so.

Sophomore point guard Kalin Lucas struggled to find open shots and a rhythm against the defensive-minded Fighting Illini. But even when Lucas did get a good look at the basket, the Spartan point guard was unable to knock down shots with any sort of consistency.

Lucas finished the game with 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting. In the second half, however, Lucas found a way to scratch out critical points and keep teammates involved.

While some might characterize Lucas' performance against Illinois as subpar, Spartan coach Tom Izzo viewed it as an opportunity for his second-year player to show growth at his position.

"Like I said before, I think I had some good, wide-open shots I just didn't hit them," Lucas explained. "But being a point guard I still had to run the team. That is one thing that coach wanted me to do, he wanted me to call plays and things like that and I think I did a good job at it."

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