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Jan. 15, 2011

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EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo
>Opening Statement ...
As I look at the game, I thought in the first five minutes a lot was said. I thought our energy level defensively was the best it has been. I thought we really took it at Northwestern; I thought we defended them extremely well. We were running extremely well, and then that damn ball just wouldn't go in the hole. I thought we had some good shots; it is getting to be something now that I'm sure is in our guys' heads. I just thought we had shot after shot in that first five to 10 minutes that were good enough to go in. And then I thought we dropped down a little bit, and give Northwestern a lot of credit. They played so hard and so well. But other than shooting, I don't have a lot of complaints. We went in there wanting to get our rebounding back, and we out rebounded them by 10. We talked about our free-throw shooting; we shot 86 percent, and needed every single one of the 24 we made. Talked about turnovers, you know we had 10 in the first half, then we had five in the second half and overtime, and I thought we did a better job. And we turned them over and nobody turns them over, they had 16, I thought we did a good job at that. We shot it decent from the three, not great but decent, 37 percent. And it really came down to missing so many shots. And not attacking that zone really well because sometimes we had some different lineups in there when Day-Day (Draymond Green) was in foul trouble. We can't keep living like this, and I don't have many complaints about many things, except for our shooting. And unfortunately in basketball, the ball has to go in the basket; and it is sure not from lack of players coming in to work on it, I think it is just something that we will have to get over, fight through like every other adverse thing we had to deal with this year. When I look at free-throw shooting, rebounding, defense, we are making some progress in other areas. If the ball goes in the basket, it would have really looked pretty today. And when the ball doesn't go in the basket, it really looks ugly. I take my hat off to Bill's team; he did a masterful job. And I thought we also took away something, that we have been pretty good down the stretch, calling timeouts, players knowing what they are doing, using the clock, and executing under some tough times. Hopefully, that will help us. I just hope it is not in the next game; I hope it is down the road.

On the play of freshman guard Keith Appling ...
Well, I thought (Keith) Appling and (Kalin) Lucas did some things. Appling, for a freshman, is really starting to raise his game. They are all calling him Charlie Bell now because he can check, and he has checked awfully well for a rookie. But he is starting to get his offense going; he was a great scorer in high school. He is starting to get his confidence a little bit; they are starting to look for him. I like the demeanor he plays with, and I like the toughness he plays with. And he is making some strides, he really is. He's not afraid to take a shot, I like that. And he is deadly at the free-throw line, and I love that. He did that, I thought (Kalin) Lucas blew by a few guys and made some big layups there. Early on, he got a little frustrated, but I think in the second half, he was able to blow by some people. Draymond (Green), even though he was 3-9, eight rebounds and 10-10 from the line, and some good passes that led to good passes. We finally did some things second half, tried to get it to Day-Day, then swing it to the side, and back to the corner. So in hockey assists, he would have had a field day today. So those three guys really did some good things. And yet Appling was the man of the hour this time. It was fun to watch the players feel that way in the locker room. But let's not go unnoticed on what Delvon Roe did on (John) Shurna. Shurna was 2-10 today and was 1-11 the first time, that's 3-21, and I still think that he is one of the better players in our league.

On the improvements on the free-throw shooting ...
I definitely think it is going to help Day-Day; I do think Kalin (Lucas), he really beared down too. Guys are trying to tell me that (Derrick) Nix missed the last one on purpose, to take himself off of the hook. Even his was big. I just think all-in-all, I talked to Kalin, Korie (Lucious), and Durrell (Summers) last night, Kalin is a 78.6 percent free-throw shooter for his career; Durrell is 75.6 percent and Korie is 73 percent. And right now in the league, they are combining for 58 percent, and it definitely cost us a few games. But they have already done it for most of their careers. I have no problem with the fact that they spend time on it. You just can't crawl into someone else's body. I feel for them, because that is a hard thing to sit there in front of God and everybody and miss free throws when you know you are a good free-throw shooter.

On the defensive improvements that Northwestern made ...
Well, I think what they did well that we did not handle well was the changing of defenses. And when they change defenses like that, the guards have to recognize it. We had Day-Day up on top for part of it and we did some standing around. But I think they deserve more credit than we do blame on that. They play that thing very well.

Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody
Opening Statement ...
We got off to a bad start; turned the ball over so much in the first six minutes. Ten turnovers at half when we only average 11 per game. We tightened that up in the second half though. They made the plays, and we didn't make the plays at the end. They stopped us a few times down the stretch too. (Draymond) Green had those offensive rebounds; Roe might have had one too. Then you go to overtime, and we have a four-point lead with the ball, and then we're careless. We didn't make them defend so it was just a bad play on our part. They hung in there, they weren't playing great I don't think, but they managed to find a way to win. It's a tough one to take because you'd like to get a win on the road, especially against a program like this.

On the play of Keith Appling ...
Well he's hitting 41 percent from three, so that's pretty good. He didn't surprise me; he's a really good player. A freshman who was a terrific high school player. They have a few different guys who can score. (Kalin) Lucas was taking the ball to the basket, from the top, they were isolating him. When they had to make a shot it seemed like they did.

On not calling a timeout on the last play of regulation ...
I just wanted the ball in his hands. I didn't want any picks; I wanted him to make a play, to find somebody. I don't know what happened over there. We set the guy up like he was going to pick and then he went against it. I couldn't tell if he got bumped or not on the travel call, but he didn't complain. So it was probably good defense. I didn't want to call a timeout; all I would have said is "make a play."

On the struggles of John Shurna ...
I thought they did a real nice job on defense. He's not moving that well, so it's hard for him. He actually came through a little bit, and at the end there made a couple shots. I think they (Michigan State) did a very nice job on him.

The team's interior defense?

I don't think they threw it down (in the post) that much. It might have been our defense or it might have been the way they decided to attack us. I think the 18 points in the paint from last game was more about offensive rebounding. First half we did a pretty good job with that, but in crunch time (Draymond) Green got some big ones there. I don't know if it was our defending or the fact that they were just looking for isolation plays with their guards.

The rebounding of Draymond Green ...
We can't let him get it. What are you going to do? He's there, you're there, you can't let him push you under or jump over you. I don't think there is any coaching book that tells you what to do there.

 

 

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