MSU Spartans
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Men's Basketball
Michigan State (64) vs. Wisconsin (55)
 
 
 

 

 
 

Feb. 20, 2007

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 1  |  Photo Gallery 2 

Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement...
I have to credit those players, and my assistants did an incredible job. We had a game plan going in on what we would do, and when they started hitting those threes - I think they only average five makes per game - we questioned it at halftime. But we stuck with the game plan because we didn't think they could beat us from out there. Plus, we were in so much foul trouble that if we extended, (Alando) Tucker was going to eat us on the inside. I give the players credit - we stuck to it, and in the second half we started executing offensively.

On his team's effort...
I still think Wisconsin is a very, very, very good basketball team. It took a rogue effort by (Drew) Neitzel and (Raymar) Morgan, and Travis Walton, after a slow start, was unbelievable - he almost got a triple-double. And with our role players, our rebounding was phenomenal. It started early with (Drew) Naymick, then (Idong) Ibok and Raymar (Morgan). But we caught Wisconsin at the right time. I've been there when you take over No. 1 and then we got beat by Indiana a couple days later. I still think this is a team that's got a chance to go very deep in the NCAA Tournament. I'm just happy for the guys.

On what he told his team before the game...
My only speech was, `Everybody's got an opportunity in life.' It's been a little disappointing because we haven't played for a Big Ten championship, but we just had the '57 team here and I told them that everybody makes their mark in a different way. We've talked a lot about leaving a footprint in this thing. I think we are the first Michigan State team to beat a No. 1 team at home, and that's one hell of a footprint. It'll give them something to remember and I hope we can build from here.

On Wisconsin's Alando Tucker...
Tucker you can't cover by yourself. I still think, even though he didn't have a great second half, I still think this kid is the player of the year, maybe in the country. If you see him on film, you say `how does he do what he does?'

On the play of Drew Naymick...
He's has had three good games now where he's given us more and more. I felt bad because he made a great move on that little hook shot. I'd like to see his offense improve a little bit, I'm sure so would he. He is playing with some energy. He's covering things the right way.

Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan

On MSU outrebounding Wisconsin 41-24...
I knew they were pretty accurate. There were times when we had a chance to grab them and we didn't. I think we can do a much better job of that the next game, the next time we play them, the next game, period. I just thought some of our guys got kind of wooed into an area and couldn't rebound in space. That hurts.

On the solid defense by both teams...
Both teams got into a cellophane over the rim routine and then all of a sudden, Neitzel's the one who turned the game around, no question. When that last one came in after it rattled, came out, hit the bracket, hit the backboard, rolled in, I just give people credit. I've been around long enough to know when I've seen something good. He got an excellent performance when they needed it. I don't know if this team is used to being ahead all the time, it's not our case except for this year it seems more times than not. And playing from behind, wow, we just settled for some quick shots. That is not what we normally do when we're in situations in practice. Of course when you're not going down, when you're not getting the rebound, that's all she wrote.

On MSU's defense on Alando Tucker...
Sometimes it's a combination of things, sometimes it's the player and sometime's it's the defense. Sometime's it's in between. I think for some reason Alando (Tucker) just didn't look to attack the rim the way he normally does. He doesn't shoot a free throw, not because he was hacked and it wasn't called at all, it's just he wasn't in the attack mode. Sometimes maybe it would help, but he found some guys. The very first possession of the second half he found Jason Chappell for a wide open shot, he just didn't finish it. You can't give people encouragement when you're in this kind of environment and when the team you're playing against is playing the way they're playing. I thought we did a good job on (Neitzel's) floor game, then Walton had a great floor game and he found people and did his job.

Michigan State junior guard Drew Neitzel

Opening statement...
This is unbelievable. This is the best win that I've had at Michigan State, other than that Kentucky win going to the Final Four. This is right up there with that. We just kept battling. They played a great game, the first half they knocked shots down. Alando Tucker, our game plan was to sag off of him a little bit and make him beat us from the perimeter and he did that in the first half--that's why he's one of the best players in the country. We stuck with our game-plan and it worked out.

On the three-pointer that nearly rimmed out...
That was crazy. I guess there was a little luck on our side tonight. You know everybody made some huge plays: Drew Naymick, he made some big rebounds for us, and I think Travis Walton had a double-double, Raymar Morgan--everybody put it on the line. You can name off every guy who put it on the line.

On his play...
I was just doing whatever it took to help our team to win. It wasn't just me. Travis Walton made some good passes to me. The big guys especially, something they don't get credit for, setting those good screens. That's the reason I get open. It was a total team effort. I'm just happy for all of us, we just kept fighting. We went through that tough stretch, we bounced back, and that just shows what kind of character this team has.

 

 

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