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Michigan State 62, St. Cloud State 49

Nov. 2, 2012

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening Statements...
Well I guess it was a disappointing game again. I give credit to St. Cloud. We're struggling playing our two bigs against pick-and-pop guys but early on in the game, (Connor) Neihaus hurt us right away with a couple of threes. We just did not guard like we have to guard and then I think that it turned our offense into some problems. We had some foul trouble with (Adreian) Payne and (Branden) Dawson. It kind of took guys out of it. Then we played (Gary) Harris a little more and then he cramped up in the second half. He wasn't quite as effective. Missing as many free throws as we did, especially guys like (Gary) Harris and (Russell) Byrd, who are two of our best free throw shooters, and Adreian (Payne) is a good free throw shooter, it was like everything collapsed at once.

We're still turning the ball over too much. Their changing of the lineups just probably hurt us some. We're trying to figure out how we're going to play, I feel comfortable with about three or four positions but I don't feel comfortable with the fifth, whether we can go as big as I thought we could. I think you've got to keep in mind that the teams we've played have been 6-7, 6-5, and it's a little difficult to get that in the teams we're going to play in the upcoming games. I think some of that will be better. Again, I thought that this was a well-coached team and they did a great job of just holding the ball and moving bodies and we didn't do a good job of guarding.

On any long-term thoughts following the previous exhibition games...
I'm just disappointed. I'm disappointed that we work on things like how to get over ball screens and we had a bunch of bigs that went to sleep. We were supposed to be stepping up and showing. We had a bunch of guys playing two feet behind; I think that part of it was very discouraging. I think when they hit a couple threes, we had guys afraid to leave their man and that's not how we play. I think my assistant Mike Garland said it best, "You've got to do your job."

(Denzel) Valentine is struggling and everybody tells me how he can pass the ball, but it's how he dribbles the ball that is the problem. He's trying to do too much and the game is a little quick for him right now. So, he's averaging four or five turnovers a game. Turnovers and missed free throws are a problem on the offense. For the defense, it's our bigs. Especially our four-man not stepping up and doing things you've got to do. We'll look at playing a little smaller; we knew we would do some of that. I didn't know how much we'd have to do. I was hoping 20 minutes a game, maybe we'll do 30 minutes a game. Some of it will change when teams have two bigs in there and maybe guys that aren't quite as good of shooters as we've run into in the last two games with the small forward or center, I mean pick-and-pop guys. I'm not ready to panic on two exhibition games. I'm disappointed in how we played compared to how we practice but it is what it is. We're just going to have to do some work.

On the lack of communication on the court...
I'd say that's fair. I'd say that's why the switches on the defenses have been poor. That's partly not playing together; a lot guys haven't played together. Then, partly it's the rotations that we've had and different lineups. So in that respect, I got just what I wanted to out of this thing and I've got a couple guys that will play a few more minutes and a couple guys that I think will play a few less minutes. A couple guys that I was hoping could play one position or two positions maybe can't do that. So, I still got a lot out of the exhibition games but I didn't get what would have liked to have gotten as far as seeing the carry-over from practice to a game, especially on the defensive end. We missed some shots. Inside, I thought it was brutal in there, we missed some shots in there, but we missed, like I said, 14 free throws or whatever we missed. Some of those run-ins were one and one. At least we got to the line but we didn't do a good job once we got there. That hasn't concerned me, I'm sure you'd say, `it better,' but we've been shooting pretty well from the line in practice and guys have actually spent more time shooting free throws this year than ever. I think that it's just one of those things and that's what happens in exhibition games: you don't start out good, then you start playing bad, and then the roof caves in. That, a little bit of fatigue, and we couldn't play (Brandan) Kearney because of a pulled groin, that happened last night - he's a stabilizer, he can play defense, he can play 13 minutes a game like last year, he would have played a lot more tonight. Not that he's great but he will do his job. I think right now we need to make sure guys play their job instead of trying to do things they can't do.

On his feelings about his nephew playing...
The first time he hit a three that was disappointing. The first shot he took was a three and it was right in our face. I'm about memory-making events; that's why I schedule like I do, that's why we play like we play, and that's what we do. I think sometimes you forget it's nice to make somebody else have a memory-making event. It's a great thrill for me; to have a family member is pretty neat. I know from my sister, her husband, my mother and father, it had to be a great night. I'm probably going to disown my mother, I saw her wearing her red sweater; she doesn't understand where her paycheck is from. I was proud of him. I was proud of their whole team. As a Division II guy myself, I have great enjoyment in watching a team that is well coached and plays hard, and that team sure did.

St. Cloud State head coach Kevin Schlagel

Opening statement ...
First of all I would just like to thank Michigan State, Coach Izzo and his staff for giving us this opportunity. We've never had an opportunity like this and it's a tremendous experience for our guys and about a hundred people who came over here from St. Cloud. So, first and foremost I just want to thank them for this opportunity. The whole idea for us to play an exhibition game is to try to make ourselves better. Obviously, we don't face competition like this on a regular basis, so it was a good experience for us just to see if we could be disciplined enough to run through an offense and grind things out. Because the last thing we wanted to do was shoot a few three's, but as you could see as the game wore on, we ended up taking quite a few three's. I'm really happy with the effort we got from our players and I think that we will grow an awful lot from this.

On competing well enough to give Michigan State a scare ...
Well I thought in the second half we started to hit some shots there, especially the fourteen-minute mark to about the ten minute mark. I think we're a pretty good three-point shooting team, but we have to establish an inside game in order for that to happen. We just couldn't do that. Anytime we took the ball inside it was usually going the other direction. But, I really felt at that point if we hit a couple we could at least make it interesting.

On St. Cloud's competitive effort for rebounds ...
Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised. We had no answer for Nix, obviously. He could kind of go wherever he wanted to. But, take a look at our two starters, our sophomores; they came off the bench for us a year ago. We have an All-Conference center that blew his knee out that is our leading rebounder. I was really happy that those two guys particularly battled and that's all we asked them to do--just make an honest effort. We knew we were probably going to get beat on the boards, because most teams that play Michigan State do get beat on the boards. More than anything, I was just happy to see their effort in terms of competing out there.



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