Michigan State's Morgan disappears again
April, 3, 2010
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesFoul trouble limited Michigan State's Raymar Morgan to 23 minutes.
INDIANAPOLIS -- It didn't take Michigan State forward Draymond Green very long to come up for an answer as to why the Spartans had so many problems scoring in Saturday night's 52-50 loss to Butler in the national semifinals of the NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"One thing that made it tough was not having Raymar," Green said.
Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan was saddled by foul trouble early and often against the Bulldogs. Morgan came into the game as the Spartans leading scorer with 11.5 points per game, but he finished with only four points on 2-for-7 shooting in 23 minutes.
"I think he could have caused a mismatch for them," Green said. "He was never able to get into a groove with the foul trouble."
Morgan, a 6-foot-8 senior from Canton, Ohio, never had a chance after he picked up two fouls in a 26-second span early in the first half. He left the court with 15:25 to play. He returned to the floor with 12:41 to play and picked up his third foul about 2.5 minutes later. He didn't play in the final eight minutes of the first half.
Morgan picked up his third foul after Butler's Willie Veasley pulled down an offensive rebound.
"They called the foul on me," Morgan said. "The refereeing is out of my hands. You've just got to play regardless of the calls. But I personally didn't think the foul was on me. Who knows? Maybe it was. I don't know."
It didn't matter what Morgan believed happened, because he was still sitting on MSU's bench. He picked up his fourth foul with 12:38 left to play and sat another four minutes on the bench.
"It's disappointing, but my teammates did a great job trying to pick me up," Morgan said. "Their effort was unbelievable for us to stay in the game and have a chance to win and only lose by two."
It was a disappointing finish to Morgan's college career. In Michigan State's 89-72 loss to North Carolina in the 2009 national championship game at Ford Field in Detroit, Morgan scored four points on 1-for-2 shooting.
"I think a couple of players let [the fouls] get to them," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "Raymar did. He really let it get to him early and that's not good. That's something I'll learn from."
Michigan State's starting frontcourt of Morgan, forward Delvon Roe and center Derrick Nix combined to score only eight points on 4-for-12 shooting.
"We're going to do a better job next year," Izzo said. "You think our 'war drill' is something now? Next year, it's going to be fistfighting because I'm going to make sure my guys are never, ever, ever, ever physically beaten out of a game again. And I thought tonight we were."