MSU Spartans
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Men's Basketball
Michigan State 61, Minnesota 50
 
 
 

 

 
 

Feb. 6, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement...
I don't even know what to say. I felt like we just beat a very good basketball team. I don't think they played great and I don't think we played great. I'm kind of speechless. I don't know why we came out like we did. We are extremely beat up right now. Dawson came out in the second half and Payne is out, we thought he might have broken his nose. Keith popped his shoulder and you probably saw Gary limping the entire game. In the second half we went to Nix and he made some plays with his passes. We didn't communicate well or guard the people we were supposed to guard. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised since we were depleted to start with. I am proud that we found a way to win and grinded it out. We beat a good team who probably feels a little like us.

On first half offensive struggles...
It is very difficult to find a silver lining in a cloud and that is probably why we won the game. Zeros turnovers in the first half; I don't think that has ever happened since I've been here. I think the five for the game is lowest in my entire career, and that was one of the keys since they score so well off turnovers. Six and half minutes into the second half we only had one turnover and we had scored 18 or 19 points, which was more than we scored in the first half.

On the Keith Appling Injury...
When he went down it definitely popped out. I'm hoping and thinking that it might not have stretched everything, but I have no clue. I was happy as heck to see him, but it is just amazing with Payne's nose bleeding, it seemed like he was back there for a half an hour.

On Gary Harris playing through injury...
He couldn't even run his back was hurting him so much. Normally, I would take a kid out who is hurting but it was a muscle and not skeletal, so it's just a matter of whether or not you can deal with the pain. I kept asking him if he was good to go, and thankfully he is smart enough to say yes, because I don't know what we would have done at that point. But I'll tell you something; that kid showed me some character and some heart. That was a way more heroic effort than it looked because he was dragging his whole body.

On being outrebounded by Minnesota...
It is a major concern for me. They are one of the best rebounding teams in the conference. I think Tubby (Smith) does an incredible job because they are tough and strong. When BJ (Branden Dawson) isn't playing and with Derrick (Nix) having to play too many minutes because of the way things are, we aren't rebounding the ball very well. If Gary (Harris) gets a rebound, it is because it falls to him and I don't really want him to right now. This is a strange team for me to coach because of the way we are and the way we always have played. We aren't doing a very good job on the boards, and I know most people would like to be plus on the boards, and I'm used to being plus 10 and leading the nation and were plus three and leading nobody.

On getting a win despite a tough first half...
I am way more on the frustration side because we had some effort related things again. We practice harder than we play. If you ask me, Minnesota is a very good team and they just missed some open shots. Dawson struggled early. I think if there was a bright spot I think Valentine played a lot better. We got a little mixed up defensively at times, but he played a lot better. Payne in the second half, when he started playing in the post and getting that jump hook, and then when Nix started going down low, we did some better things. Keith struggled in the first half, but it wasn't an effort related thing. He was just really tired and not pushing the ball and starting the offense too far out. We might have to play a little different here coming up with three games in six days and we have to figure it out. I'm proud of the way we came back but I'm disappointed that a good team should have to get to that point, because you are going to run out of those situations if you don't start to take care of business earlier.

Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith

Opening Statement...
Well, it was again the same issue we had in most of our losses, turnovers, once again raised its ugly head. We had a tough night shooting the ball especially our back court guys, but a lot of it had to do with Michigan State's good defense.

On Trevor Mbakwe's performance...
He did a good job. Our post players didn't really get touches obviously, but when I looked down there, their post players didn't get many touches either; so it was a good battle in the front court between the post players. I thought Trevor really played well all night, especially on the boards and defensively, something he's been working hard to improve.

On ending performance...
When you give up easy baskets and just throw the ball to the guy, those are just back-breakers. Those just take all the wind out of you, it's like getting punched in the gut. Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne shot the gap and got the ball. The amount of turnovers, that was disappointing. We need to handle the ball better in those situations because we've worked hard on it. I know Austin Hollins is a little bit under the weather, but we need to have some other guys step it up. I thought for the most part we did some good things too. We didn't shoot the ball well, but they did some good things.

On Gary Harris...
We found a way to leave him open too, most of the night. He just made some good shots, he was open. He was our target tonight, especially stepping up without Travis Trice. We tried to zone and right away he shot us out of the zone. Even in the man to man, we lost him in the man to man. He played extremely well, shot the ball well.

On the difference for Michigan State offensively the second half...
Turnovers. When you're shooting lay ups like that off of turnovers, that's a pretty high percentage shot. That's pretty much it, they got about six to eight layups in the paint. They're the best at getting the ball inside and getting the ball to the basket. We did a pretty good job of defending it in the first half, but in the second half we just collapsed. That's what it is. We're right there and then you start giving the ball away, whether it's bad shots or ball decisions. It goes back to MSU's good defense though and that was the difference. They picked it up and became a little more physical and we didn't respond to it.

On Keith Appling...
Keith Appling is a very talented player. He's really evolved into one of the best guards in the league and in the country. He plays on both ends, he plays defense and he plays offense. Tonight he was getting good looks and good shots. When your back court is playing like that, they certainly out played our back court. That was the difference.

On Trevor Mbakwe bouncing back after tweaking his wrist...
He's a hard-nosed kid, a real gutsy kid. It's a strain so it's going to be sore. When you're out there competing the adrenaline is flowing, he'll get treated and hopefully there's not any serious damage. He'll be fine I imagine.

On toughness because of size difference...
That's why Trevor Mbakwe didn't get as many touches. Their bigs were both playing outstanding defense. I thought Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix were playing outstanding post defense inside, and neither team was really weak. We made some mistakes and tried to go down and double and they're one of the best teams to pass the ball out of the post. They got about four three's in the first half because the wrong guy went down to trap and really shouldn't have gone down. That limits your touches when you have that type of size. Not only did they have a bunch of steals, but they had three blocks as well.


 

 

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