Michigan State 66, Nebraska 56
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 13, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening Statement...
Let me tell you about my pet peeve first of all. I talked to Coach Miles about it afterwards and he was cool about it. The lob dunk at the end--I hate that. He was right, they were chasing us all around and he was good enough to not care about it. He also thought that one of his kids fouled Branden Dawson, but there was nothing there. He wasn't even touched when he went down. He was injured before he even got touched, so his kid did nothing. This day and age everyone wants to make a big deal about things. They played harder than us; they coached better than us and probably deserved to win the game in every way. They did a hell of a job and made some shots that they don't usually make from the guard positions. We did some great things down low with Dawson, Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix. We wanted to get more rebounds out of our guards and Harris got seven and Valentine got eight so that was a positive. Harris was 0-10 when he took that last three pointer, which proves he is a gamer. I have no idea why we looked so lethargic and missed so many shots. We practice well and the shoot around today was great, but I was disappointed with our performance and yet very respectful of what Nebraska did.

On the emotions after Branden Dawson went down with a knee injury...
I was here when Mateen Cleaves came out in the National Championship game, but I think I'll admit my smile was bigger tonight because I was scared to death the kid did his knee in again. I felt for him lying there, and I really can't explain the emotions of that minute. And when he ran back in he said he just tweaked it, and I'm sure there was a fear on his part. But there was certainly nothing to do with any Nebraska player, so anyone who tweets something like that is an idiot. I've had some people tweet things lately that were borderline so I want to make sure I say that clearly.

On the concern of Gary Harris' injury...
I had nothing to do with the brace. That was the first time he shot that poorly all year, but still played great defense and played 36 minutes. He had seven rebounds and was 6-6 from the line. Our lack of good screening and their good defense was the main reason. In no way am I worried about Gary Harris.

On the energy of Dawson and Payne...
I've posted Branden up about his energy a lot of times the past year and a half, and right now I have nothing but respect for what he's doing and what he's done. He's playing hard, working on his shot and having more success. He has taken big strides and I see him getting better every week.

We just have to get more out of our guards to be honest with you. Keith Appling gets nine assists which is a big time night, so there were some backward things that happened tonight that just don't make sense.

On Keith Appling continuing to improve on running the offense...
He's running it better and making better decisions, but we need Keith to score too and I know he wants to. I'm a little disappointed in our big men setting picks right now. When they set up they have to roll hard or else they double up on Keith and that's what's happening right now. Looking around this conference there are a lot of great teams but they all have their own issues. And we certainly have ours. This is the weirdest 14-3 team, playing a pretty good schedule that I have been involved with here. It doesn't mean it's awful, just different.

Nebraska Head Coach Tim Miles

On the decision to start David Rivers...
I thought that David has practiced well. He's done what we've asked him to do. We were looking for a little bit of a different line up with Dylan (Talley) at the point guard. I believe in David, I believe he can do good things for us. I think he showed tonight that he's a capable player.

On the closeness of the game...
We're not in it for any kind of consolation prize. We want to win the game. Those kids in the locker room, they're guts are turned inside out because of it. You have to credit Michigan State, they made winning plays. We had a bad shot and two turnovers late, that really hurt us. We don't have enough things going our way to be able to make errors like that especially late in the game. We have some really young kids that are out there that are getting their first Big Ten action, so you have to live with some of that. I thought we made a lot of really good plays to put us in a good position, but unfortunately not enough to win.

On the alley-oop at the end...
That's fine; it's part of the game. I don't know did we get him on the break away? Or did his knee just buckle? Or did we hit him? What happened with that? He didn't think he touched him. Ray's (Gallegos) not that kind of kid, so I'd be surprised if he did. The dunk is part of it. I've been through it, I've been an NAIA coach, and I've been through it a lot of different ways. We were out running around pressing them so why not?

On what he and Tom Izzo were talking about after the game... Tom brought up the breakaway which I said it's a non-issue don't worry about it. I said `Hey I don't think my kid is that kind of a kid. I don't know if he touched him, he certainly wasn't going after him.' I just wanted him to know that, I have too much respect for Tom Izzo, too much respect for this program, for their program. I think it was a good, well-played game. It is what it is for those things.

On Gary Harris's last three-point shot...
We're going to need things like that. We're going to have to play outstanding defense and hope for some guys to not have their best nights. They caught us in transition and we had a bad match up. Benny (Parker) is a smaller guard on him and he made a good shot. He's a clutch kid, he knows what's going on and he's been a successful high school player so it didn't surprise me that he made it. We had a shot to go in and out with Dylan Talley, that would have given us the lead and they came down and I forget who made a three and I think that was a really big play too.

On Derrick Nix...
They're big kids go 12 for 15 and our center doesn't score. Andre (Almeida) was 0-4 and we need Andre to match those guys if we're going to be successful. We knew we were going to be small at times, we knew we were going to be mismatched so it doesn't stun me. I thought Payne made some tough shots. He hit a step back; you've got to live with that. He made some shots early in the game that weren't his bread and butter. That doesn't surprise me, we just need more of our inside game.