EAST LANSING –The last time Kalin Lucas was this excited for an exhibition game, he was a freshman and the contest would be his first as a Michigan State basketball player.
The 2010-11 season will be Lucas’ last, and that alone might have been enough to make him feel giddy about Tuesday night’s game against Saginaw Valley State.
But this was more than just a meaningless exhibition for Lucas, even with the Spartans rolling over Saginaw Valley State, 88-44, at the Breslin Center.
It was Lucas’ first game since March 21; the day MSU beat Maryland, 85-83, in the second round of the 2010 NCAA tournament. Lucas suffered ruptured his left Achilles tendon in the first half of that game, ending his season.
He could only watch as his teammates took MSU to the Final Four, and he was forced to spend the summer rehabilitating the surgically repaired tendon in hopes he could return to the form that made him one of the top point guards in the country.
On Tuesday, Lucas started and led the Spartans with 13 points. He played 19 minutes less than the other four starters, but enough for him to make an impact.
“It felt great to be back out there with my teammates, playing and pretty much just having fun out there,” Lucas said. “It felt good. The only thing that was kind of stopping me was that I got winded kind of fast. I had to ask for a sub, but as far as my Achilles, it felt good.”
The Spartans performed well overall, shooting 53.6 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from three-point range. They held Saginaw Valley to 31.5 percent shooting.
In addition to Lucas, Delvon Roe, Austin Thornton, Durrell Summers and Draymond Green started the game. Roe led all players in rebounds with eight. He was as fired up as anybody before the game.
“I thought we played pretty well,” coach Tom Izzo said. “I really did. I thought considering the combinations we had in there, Kalin started out like a house on fire. He played great.”
Izzo also noted that Lucas was the first of the starters to be substituted out because of fatigue but said that was to be expected at this point in Lucas’ comeback. Izzo also saw some improvements in Lucas’ game from what he exhibited in the past.
“I think he’s shooting the ball better and I think it’s because he’s concentrating on his shot a little bit more,” Izzo said. “It was fun to watch him. I think he did a pretty good job defensively. I think coming off that injury, he did a lot of good things tonight.”
Eastern Michigan Basketball has a date to open up its regular season with the Spartans Friday Nov.12 at the Breslin Center.