MSU Spartans
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Men's Basketball
Michigan State-59, Ohio State-56
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 19, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement ...
I don't know if it was pretty to watch or not; it was a heck of a game.  We got off to a great start and did everything we could do right.  The game plan was to go inside and go at (Deshaun)Thomas. I thought we did some things there; I thought we did a great job of that.  Then, blame the coach.  We just did not get the ball inside after that and I did a really poor job of doing that.  I thought we made some calls in there, but we didn't and that falls on my shoulders because I think for (Adreian) Payne and (Derrick) Nix to get four or five shots, it's ridiculous.  You have to give Ohio State some credit on that, I just can't give them all the credit.  We just didn't throw it in there for a while and after such a great start, we didn't do that.  I thought we had some kick outs and our guards missed some good opportunities.  I thought we did a decent job on Thomas.  He made some tough shots, he made a couple of easier shots and it was not an easy job for Payne.  We just felt we had to go that way because Branden (Dawson) just hasn't had enough time at the positions that we were guarding with.   So we did the best that we could do. We got mixed up because we tried a couple of new things.  All and all, we made some big plays.  (Keith) Appling made some big plays when it counted and our defense was pretty good.  You can go two ways when you play a team like that - you can try to hold down their superstar and hopefully all the others don't beat you or let their superstar score and hold down the rest.  We held down the rest and tried not to let their superstar score, but he scored.  That was a big win and like I said, strange 16-3 team, but I don't think anybody cares about that a week from now. 

On the crowd ...
Thank you for bringing that up; best crowd in years.  It's always been good, but there was an extra best and it started early.  That's how we won 53 games here in a row.  Tonight, they did a heck of a job for us and a couple times when I thought we got tired.  We had some guys who got tired and we only played seven guys and Costello a little bit; he sprained his ankle yesterday and (Alex) Gauna was sick as a dog with the flu.  We were down a little bit and I wanted to get (Russell) Byrd in, but I didn't get him in.  The crowd helped carry those guys that were tired through it. That was phenomenal. 

On Keith Appling and how he takes his matchup with Aaron Craft personally ...
Well he does.  I don't know if anybody should enjoy playing against Craft; he is a heck of a defender and he does come at you.  There were some critical plays at the end that I thought were close, like the one at half court.  Keith understands that he has to play that way in the first 35 minutes and he's been so good with his free throws and shooting down the stretch,but in between, he gets wide open looks from three.  He's been working his tail on it.  So we have to get him to play the full game. A guy who is struggling right now and who's playing hard as heck is Gary [Harris].  He's not getting shots off and I think he's hit a little bit of a wall.  He did some good things today and I love the fact that he was ready to play and fire up.  The shoot around was great, the start of the game was great and it shows some character when you can fall and get back up on your feet. We have a long way to go, but I think it's a heck of a start. 

On his concern with Adreian Payne ...
I was moderately happy.  He got tired a couple of times and on plays that we worked hours on, the fatigue showed up.  He was a little goofy once and a while, but that's just normal.  For the most part, for me to even think of putting Adreian [Payne] on a guy like that shows how far he has come.  We just needed to get him the ball more.  He made it a little bit difficult himself.  He was always popping instead of posting and so now that we have him and Nix together, we need to practice with that lineup.  We'll get a couple days here, and a couple days there and with Martin Luther King Day we will have some time.  Even though the schedule is going to be brutal, we're going to get some time to work on some things. 

On the two programs and fighting four wars in a row ...
It is a classic game in different ways.  I just think both teams played hard.  You get these rivalries, in the 2000s it was Wisconsin and Illinois and then it became Ohio State and us.  You have these couple of years where games are so tight and so important.  I just look at it as it was a war, and we survived it.  I'm going to quit critiquing how good or bad [we play].  We have some things to work on and I also know that we did some things really well.  We did two things really well that we have continuously done and Mark Dantonio mentioned it to me.  He said how we really fought in the last five minutes and finding ways to win.  As much as it might frustrate you as it does me at times, it shows a little character that you can find ways to win and right now our program has found some ways to win.

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta

On Deshaun Thomas not getting the ball on the last possession of the game...
Michigan State knew we were going to go to him and they had locked down on him. Obviously, I would have liked to have got it there. Like I said, on that play, you can't start the game the way we started and we had some malfunctions. In the first half, we had nine turnovers and they had seven steals. We weren't as sharp as we needed to be. I give our guys credit; they fought back in it and made it a basketball game.

On the crowd today...
It was a tremendous crowd. All of the times we've been up here, they do a tremendous job in terms of loudness. It's crazy, I don't hear a lot, but thumbs up.

On Michigan State and Ohio State as teams...
I think you've got what I would consider, I don't want to step out of bounds saying this, but I think you have two of the top college basketball programs going head-to-head. We have won four times in here and I've brought some great teams in here. Tom's brought some great teams down to Columbus. We've been in this league and it's kind of been us battling. I think we've won five of the last Big Ten championships and they've probably won the ones that we haven't. I know we've probably tied about an unsummable amount of those. I would hope that we can get the respect and give Michigan State the respect. These are two great basketball programs and for whatever reason, I don't know if our styles clash, but there has been some unbelievable battles in here.

On the slow start of the game...
I think it was the physicality of how they started the game. We just weren't as strong as we needed to be in terms of finishing the plays and connecting the dots the way we needed to. We have been in some tough environments and this was no different, obviously. Like I said, I was proud of the way they fought back.

On the battle between Aaron Craft and Keith Appling...
I think one of the biggest plays is when Aaron (Craft) slipped and (Keith) Appling got in and got the lay up there. Those are the plays, the shot clock would end and he would hit the shots. We couldn't make the plays to capitalize the momentum, free throws and and-ones. They made and-ones and we didn't make and-ones. That was probably the difference.

Junior Adreian Payne

On how you feel about the win...
I'm very excited about the victory. We needed this win at home and it just felt so good that we were able to get it. Beating Ohio State at home is huge especially because it helps us move up in the rankings. We are going to continue to get better and improve our game. I was on my role on the team and I wanted to bring a lot of energy and play with a lot of passion.

On how you feel about going on the road now...
Well, we play Wisconsin next. They're very good at shooting the outside shot, and spreading their defense. They're very good and kicking it and shooting three's. We're just going to have to guard the perimeter very well so we can have a better chance to win the game. We're going to have to focus on our turnovers, and executing our offense and taking good shots.

On how to defend Thomas...
We knew he was going to make shots. We were just trying to contain him from the 3-point line, because we knew he could shoot it, and basically just try and trail him and make sure he didn't get any easy shots.

I was just trying to stay right up there on him, not let him get any easy buckets. I think I did an OK job. I definitely could have done better. He did shoot the ball and make some tough shots. Great players are capable of making great plays, and I think he did.

On the challenge...
This was a big, big, big challenge and big role for me, for coach to let me be able to guard someone like that and pin me on him. I take that as steps in trying to get better and seeing that coach expects more out of me.

Junior Branden Dawson

On how you feel about the win...
This win overall was a great win. Ohio State is a great team, one of the best in the conference. Tonight, the crowd was electrifying. The atmosphere was just crazy, we really fed off of their energy. Tonight we got a great win. I feel like I could have played better tonight, but I'm not a guy that worries about points. We played as a team tonight and I think we supported each other well.  It's the little things that matter. Ohio State brought great competition and we were able to match it on the court.  We did great rebounding and stayed consistent throughout the game, I think.  It was great to have our fans behind us and to leave it all on the court; we all put our heart into it.  I really want to redeem myself against Wisconsin. 

On how you feel about going on the road now...
Going on the road against Wisconsin is going to be a tough game for us because Wisconsin is a great team. They just beat Indiana at home. Last year, we beat them at home, I'd say we stole one from them. They're going to be looking for revenge. They're going to come out and play as hard as they can and we are just going to have to keep our composure and play hard. We have to keep winning together as a team. As far as building our chemistry, it's coming along. We've been great; we just have to keep telling our freshman to keep their composure against electrifying crowds like tonight.  Playing away will be tough but in order to win Big Ten Championships you have to be able to win on the road regardless of the crowd or what the team brings.  We need to keep up our momentum and continue the success.  As we continue this season we will keep improving and get the championships we want. 

Senior Derrick Nix

On the crowd...
Yeah, shout out to the IZZONE. This is the loudest it has been all year and they helped us win the game today.

On the back and forth game...
Ohio State is a rivalry and they play hard. We just played a little harder and came up with the win.

On tonight's effort and Ohio State forcing them to battle for everything...
They fought to the end and that is Thad Matta's rule is to never give up. We just executed our offense really well and played some solid defense and we came away with the win.

On the last play of the game...
I thought it was going to go to (Deshaun) Thomas and (Shannon) Scott took it. It seemed like it just slipped out of his hand a little bit, but he missed it and we got the rebound.


 

 

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