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Men's Basketball
Michigan State 75, Michigan 80 Post-Game Quotes
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 25, 2014

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement…
I’ve got to give Michigan credit. They made some big threes. The difference in the game was some big threes, especially early. They shot very well from the free-throw line. I thought there were a couple of big calls, one at 60-60 that ended up with a three-point play at that end. I thought (Keith) Appling got fouled. They made big calls when they had to make them and they made plays when they had to make them.

In the 30 years I’ve been here, I’ve never been more proud of a team. I played guys that haven’t played in a month. Keith Appling - I can’t tell you how much that kid sucked it up. If (Gary) Harris isn’t the best player on both ends of the court in the league, God bless whoever is. I had some guys who stepped up.

Another critical call was the double technical. Both guys get a foul and it seems so ridiculous. It’s not a fight, not an argument. It’s just two guys saying something to each other. They give him a double technical and I had to pull him out of the game.

In general, they made a couple of big threes late. One time, we didn’t switch out so we had different lineups in there. One time, they just made one and it was a good shot. The one on the breakout or the layup by Appling was a critical one; it could’ve gone either way. It was 60-63 and they got the breakaway right after that.

So, I learned a lot about my team. I had 50 guys back right before the game. They can feel proud when they leave this place. If they don’t, that’s their fault because this team played as hard as any team I’ve coached.

On the potential for this to be a learning experience for later in the season…
Playing those guys will help some and some stepped up and showed a little more depth, but I just wish you knew what Harris and Appling… I said they had to be at their best. Keith didn’t shoot it as well. There are guys that just aren’t shooting it as well. The performance that those two made defensively - Appling has five assists and we have five turnovers on the game. That’s got to be the lowest on an Izzo-coached team. I think it will help us. I think it will help us Tuesday. I had some guys that I questioned if I’d want to go to war with. I’d go to war with them today.

On Branden Dawson’s effect on the game…
They played well. Don’t take anything away from them. They made some shots. They made some plays. We had our chance. We had the lead most of the game. We couldn’t hang on when we got into a little bit of foul trouble. That was one of my fears. We got some foul trouble early in the second half. Those injuries aren’t going away, so I don’t want to make that an excuse. We’ll have some games to play where we won’t have them again. There was a real effort by Appling. I don’t say that often enough.

On the performance of some guys who stepped up tonight…
We should’ve played (Gavin) Schilling more, maybe also (Alex) Gauna. We know Matt (Costello) knows the most and we had so many other guys in there. Alvin (Ellis III) was in there and hasn’t played a lot. We had (Denzel) Valentine at the four and we couldn’t even practice that this week, because it all happened so quickly. I just told him to read the play book and study it at night. That’s what he did, because we couldn’t practice as long. I think we got a lot out of a lot of guys, even (Travis) Trice. He battled for 20 minutes. We’ve got to get some meat back on his bones.

On the play of Michigan sophomore guard Nik Stauskas
He made some good shots. I thought when (Gary) Harris was on him, you know, I thought Harris did a hell of a job. And we had some other guys on him. We’ve got as many shot-takers as they’ve got shot-makers. We can’t cheat very much and when we did, he’s knocking it home. If he’s open, he’s making a shot. Twice we left him open on poor switches with new people in there, but again I thought when Harris was there we created some times when defensively, we were as good as we’ve been in years. Stauskas is a good player. [Caris] LeVert did a good job and give [Derrick] Walton [Jr.] credit. He made nine out of ten free-throws and for a freshman to do that down the stretch that’s impressive. So, as I said, they deserve what they got, and we worked for what we got and fell a little short.

On the play of Derrick Walton Jr.…
Well, I think part of it is we were kind of figuring out what we wanted to do and cheat to try to help some other guys when [Gary] Harris wasn’t in the game or when [Keith] Appling wasn’t in the game, you know, for a couple minutes here. Even when Gary [Harris] was in it, we were trying to wrap them so we’d move them off somebody for a minute. So we were always cheating a little bit and left him open on one. The free-throws were just – really he made the two threes – but the free-throws and we fouled him on purpose, because he was the least of the weapons. They don’t miss a lot of free-throws, that’s one of their strength, but I thought he played good.”

On Michigan’s defense on Gary Harris…
Well he was gassed -gassed and hurt, but he took a fall before that four-minute mark so I’m hoping that he’ll be alright, but he was gassed and they did do a better job. They tried to deny him some just like he was denying [Nik] Stauskas. Both teams played awfully hard and the better team won. They made the plays down the stretch to win.

On the crowd at ESPN College Gameday and during the game…
You know I said, when you’re involved in building a program and it’s been over half your life you’ve been with a program, you try to build all aspects of it. I said our president has been so supportive. She called me this week when we lost a guy, probably will call tomorrow – she almost never calls after a win. Our AD has been phenomenal, and give all the people in marketing credit.  It was a bad day today, and they got a lot of people out in the morning. The crowd I thought tonight was awesome. Those defensive stands in the first half was half them. And so when you look at building a program, it’s all aspects of it, and I thought tonight every aspect gave their best. It just wasn’t good enough.

On what he wants the players to take from this game…
To realize that they just hate losing. They definitely hate losing to their rival, and then that we have got to be a little smarter. Four minutes left, and we can’t rely on a call. We have to run and execute some plays. We got a little bit out of it there for a while. I think Keith Appling’s used to being able to go in there and slash and make a move, and you could see he couldn’t do that as well. We’re going to have to get a little smarter down the stretch, and maybe we’ll get a chance to practice with those guys. It was hard to come up with some things to do. I had guys in positions because I didn’t know. I had Kenny Kaminski in there because he could shoot at guard and I’m trying to get [Russell] Byrd in there and trying to get Alvin Ellis [III] to play the four some, because Denzel [Valentine] was in foul trouble and trying to get Zel to play the four and in our system - that’s hard to do if you haven’t done it. Zel did a hell of a job; it probably hurt his offense. When we put him on Glenn Robinson [III], I thought he did a great job on him. Guys, I have very few complaints, you know, and that’s not often for me.

On dealing with injuries…
Same way I have all year. All year, it’s been a whole year for injuries. This hasn’t changed once from day one. So what I’m going to do is we’re going to lace them up. We’re going to go play Iowa, we’re going to go figure out a way to play a little harder and a little smarter and I know they’ve got a lot of numbers. But, if I took something away, I had a good week because, as angry as people are at the [Branden] Dawson thing, it’s good to see some passion for basketball.  As upset as I am about the loss tonight, it’s good to see some passion; it’s good to see some guys out on the floor like old times. I think our players that came back were treated to how they play here. I don’t know, I’m just worried that we had some more injuries, to be honest with you. I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with anything differently. I know one thing, I’ve had a lot of experience at it. I’m going to try to rest us, chalk-talk us, walk us through, film session it and get as much rest as we can by Tuesday, go out and we’re still right in this hunt. Don’t kid yourself, we might even be stronger than we were before the game. We’ve just got to survive. It’s like the NCAA tournament – advance and survive.


Michigan head coach John Beilein

Opening statement…
It was a little bit like last Saturday when we were in Wisconsin. We talk so much about how this is a great win for us because of who we were just able to beat. It’s one of the classiest, best programs in the country. They do things the right way. They’ve got great players, they have a great coaching staff, they have a great plan and for our guys to come in here and get the ‘W’ means a lot. The Big Ten, as you know, is once again one of the better conferences in the country; the best conference. In the seven years now that I’ve been at Michigan, I know if you’re going to contend for this championship, you better have some success against Michigan State. This is one step in the right direction with a long way to go. Our kids are excited about it because of the atmosphere; the tremendous atmosphere you all have up here and that makes it even sweeter because it’s such a great venue to play basketball. We’ll take the win. We’ll move on, we’ve got Purdue Thursday and that’s who I am, just take it game by game.

On the start his team had in the first half…
It was almost that in our other games. They’ve got us from the 12-minute mark to the eight minute mark; that was some really bad basketball Michigan played. We usually started the game that way. Today we got off to a great start and that gave us a little bit of confidence. Then their defense really heated up and we acted like we’ve never seen anything like that. Once we got settled down we were better. The start was helpful.

On defeating three ranked teams in a row…
The rankings right now are the rankings. You don’t know who’s going to be there in March; it’s just projections. I know we beat three really good teams. It’s three teams that I think will be in the top-four or five in the Big Ten. To beat those, that’s what really means a lot because now you have a game up on them in some regard for the Big Ten Championship, which to every coach in this league is what we’re trying to do. The national stuff, forget about it. It’s about the Big Ten right now.

On halftime adjustments…
We had to change some things offensively that we were doing. Watching how they were playing us defensively. I walked into the locker room and my assistants were ‘bang bang bang, this is what we’ve got to do,’ and we went and did it. That really helped open up some things. We still, Gary Harris is such a great defender and to get Nik (Stauskus) involved with Gary on him is tough to do. He was limited to even touching the ball. Once we got used to that, then we said we’ve got to attack in different ways and Nik can score off some residual things or we’ve got to get him open better.

On limiting Keith Appling offensively…
He’s really quick on the ball screens. I can’t tell Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan, who’ve come up here four times, they’ve seen the good and the bad up here and if you’re going to guard Keith Appling you better have a good ball-screen defender as your big man because he will just slice through you and they did a wonderful job. Of course sharing those 20 minutes or splitting those minutes helps because they’re always fresh. Derrick (Walton Jr.) did a great job, Spike (Albrecht) did a great job. They were just as key as those two big fellas who’ve really worked so hard.

On Derrick Walton Jr.’s play tonight…
That’s one of the reasons that I know Derrick embraced going to Michigan and some of the tremendous games he’s going to be able to play in the Big Ten. This is a great environment, like all the environments are. He hasn’t always knocked them down at the end. He’s had a couple games where he made the end of the game a little bit nervous for us, but tonight all of our guys down the stretch, that was big for us to finish that way.

On what he tells his team after three ranked wins in a row…
I don’t like to be the killjoy here, but I ended up saying ‘alright, let’s enjoy this and you know on Monday we’ll forget all about this, we’ll make you in practice forget all about this because we have a very dangerous Purdue team coming in Thursday.’ Enjoy it and we’ve played seven games, heck there’s 11 more games to go in this league and this is a tough league. I don’t care if we’re playing Michigan State or we’re playing one of our guarantee games, we just want our guys to approach each game individually and just win that game. We’ll go back to that approach. I guarantee we’ll have two days of practice where it will be like we lost this game. We’ll get better.

On the play of Caris LeVert tonight…
With the exception of our Duke game, when we’ve had some good wins, Caris has been a major part of some of those games. He’s had some moments where maybe he wasn’t as good offensively, but his defense did a great thing. You chase Gary Harris around the whole night and that’s no easy task. Now he’s got the ball in his hands and he’s chasing Gary. He’s in tremendous shape and it was great effort.

On the poise of his team down the stretch…
We’ve been through this with Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin; we’ve been in this a few times, Stanford, we just have got to get the ball in bounds and execute and get to the foul line and make it. I think there’s been a gradual effect of playing those types of games and we’ve gotten better and better at it. I don’t think today, despite the environment and the tremendous atmosphere, I think it was like, ‘OK, this is what we did in the last game, we can do it again.’

On Derrick Walton Jr. wanting the ball down the stretch…
There was time when he missed a couple earlier in the year. In the Wisconsin game, we thought about getting him out of that little stack we run just to get it to Caris (Lavert) there because Caris was hotter and he did miss the free-throw. I think we’ll keep him in there. He did a great job of it. That was a big step for him, it really was. He’s always been a good foul shooter in high school and for him to have to make those, point guards are going to have to make big foul shots at the end and he did.

On outrebounding Michigan State tonight…
The sudden change of not having (Branden) Dawson is really tough on a team. They were great without him and they’ll end up being really good without him eventually until he gets back. (Adreian) Payne and Dawson, that’s a big difference. I don’t think we outrebound them with those two, but they did a great job. I thought they got a lot of good offensive rebounds in the first half and then in the second half to start the second half. We got a bunch of them that were below the rim. We got a bunch of them that were rolling around somewhere; those are the ones that will kill you as well. They certainly missed that on the backboards. That’s a big part of the plan up here, they’re really going to bang the offensive boards and score points that way. You miss two guys like that, that’s huge for them. I wish them well; I hope they get well quickly because they’re really terrific players.

On the defense played against Nik Stauskas…
Gary Harris  - I guess I hadn’t noticed it as much last year because we got beat bad up here and Nik got knocked out of the game up there, but watching him play, I said this is one tremendous defender. We knew he was going to have to pick his spots but he hit some daggers that were tough shots with Gary all over him. It was a great matchup of two really good players and that was a pretty efficient game by Nik.


 

 

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