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Michigan State vs. Hillsdale Post Game Quotes

Nov. 3, 2017

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Head coach Tom Izzo

Opening Statement…
Life is great, isn’t it? Mad about an exhibition game, get a technical. Guess the season is getting ready to be started. I’ll be honest with you, really disappointed with our offensive execution. I did not think we…we shot the ball poorly, we settled in for 3s early. I just thought we did a poor, poor job. I thought just about everybody on our team did. I thought Jaren Jackson might’ve played the best, played within himself, got every rebound for a stretch. He had two turnovers, both offensive fouls. Nick (Ward) played pretty good. Miles (Bridges) didn’t shoot it well. The last two weeks, we’ve been shooting the lights out of the ball. What did we do poorly? We didn’t shoot very well. We’ve been shooting really well from the free-throw line, that second half was ridiculous. We hadn’t been rebounding real well, and I thought we did an unbelievable job there, I know some of it’s their size. (We) out-rebounded them by 25, 30 boards, whatever it was. Twenty-two (boards). Thought that was good. Getting 16 offensive boards was good, but we didn’t get enough shots up off of that. We are getting more steals, we’re staying a little active. I have very little complaints about our defense, for the most part. That team runs. We’ve had three really good teams we’ve played. We had Ferris who penetrated every time, had to adjust there. We had Georgia who pounded the ball inside every time, and we had to learn how to defend that. Then we had this team who runs that motion, a lot of flares and back-screens. I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job. I thought I played Miles (Bridges) too much in a stretch. Was mad at a couple guys, I didn’t want to play them early so that kind of screwed up my rotation. I didn’t think I did a very good job. Probably number one star of who did the worst job was me, but there was an abundance of guys that were number two, three and four stars. We've got to get a lot better. I don’t know if we’re not handling the pressure, not handling … We’ve shot so well all spring, summer and fall. We haven’t shot the ball well in the past two weeks. We have to change that. There will be some extra work on that.
 
On playing three different styles of defenses…
I think Cassius (Winston) has made big advances. I think Miles (Bridges) is learning how to play on the perimeter. If I would’ve… He played what, 29 minutes? But he played about 27 out of 30 at one stretch. I just didn’t do a very good job with him and that’s my fault. I think Jaren (Jackson Jr.) is so long in there. One other area that we did a real good job until Miles and Josh (Langford) got tired was keeping a hand up. I thought our base, I thought Jaren did a great job of that. The funny part is Jaren and Xavier (Tillman), I thought, did a better job defensively than I thought they would. A couple other guys didn’t do quite as good a job. I have very few complaints. Defensively it was… and this team usually shoots it pretty well. I just didn’t like the offense today. It was dribble, dribble, dribble. We had a lot of guys, I thought, hunting shots, they were settling for three’s early. I didn’t like our flow offensively at all.

On Miles Bridges attacking the basket…
I like the way he’s putting the ball on the floor. I like when he takes it to the hole, he doesn’t do it enough. He is more effective when he can drive it. When other guys aren’t playing as well or aren’t pushing the ball forward with the pass and they’re dribbling it up there. That gives less people opportunities. Including Cassius (Winston), doesn’t understand that if you throw it up, those guys can drive and throw it back and now you have some shots. Now Cassius is by far our best shooter, statistically and in practice. I blame all of us for the lack of good movement, and Miles (Bridges) has to move better without the ball. We didn’t want to run a lot of stuff because we have games coming up. We didn’t really run many things offensively. I’ll use that as a little bit of an excuse.
 
On Kenny Goins playing on the wing…
Yeah. It was the first time we experimented with it, we didn’t even do it in practice in fairness to Kenny. But he’s athletic enough and quick enough and there’s a couple of offensive sets we feel we can run and get those minutes in there. We also had guys in foul trouble. I, unfortunately, sat Langford and pulled him and McQuaid for quite a while in the first half because they were in foul trouble. I probably wouldn’t do that normally, but I was half mad at them and half trying to teach them a lesson. We can’t make stupid fouls. I don’t know how many we had. Someone told me we had seven offensive fouls. Illegal screens. We’ll get better with that.
 
On having a sense of a rotation…
No, no, no. I don’t know where Gavin (Schilling) is yet, he’s coming. That was Ben (Carter)’s best performance so far. I do feel pretty good about my first seven. Meaning Tum (Lourawls 'Tum Tum' Nairn Jr.) and (Matt) McQuaid and the guys that started the game. Then it’s efficient expedition. I like the pieces, it’s just putting them together at the right time. The (Kyle) Ahrens thing hurts us a little bit because of some of those minutes we could have rested Miles. But, again, I did a poor, poor job because those guys that were in foul trouble I left them in for long stretches. We have two minutes rest here, two minutes rest there. That’s totally my fault and not his.
 
On Hillsdale’s defense creating challenges for the offense…
I thought they were very solid defensively. John (Tharp)’s a good coach. He’s a very good coach. I always thought he was a better offensive coach than defensive coach. Maybe he’s changing as he gets older. I didn’t think his offense was as good. They didn’t make shots, they didn’t get as many back-cuts as they normally get. It was a good team for us to play. It was a completely different offense than we’ve gone against. Three completely different offenses if you ask me. That’s kind of all you want to do in preseason is get different looks with different things. Like I told them, nothing major, just disappointed. We start pressing, we don’t make shots. Tonight we didn’t let it effect us on the defensive end. That was encouraging. But part of that was our bigs. Jaren (Jackson)’s a freshman and did a great job adjusting and getting up on ball screens. Things like that were really encouraging. Xavier (Tillman) did a good job of that, too, if he would have made a free throw.

On collecting 40 points in the paint…

Well, we had 40 in the paint but they weren’t all on post moves. The issues we have in there is, we’ve got to get the ball into Jaren (Jackson Jr.) in there more – he’s got to get down there more. Nick (Ward) has got to get in the post. He gets the ball out, you know, I told him he should have learned a good lesson playing against Georgia because they buried him in the paint – Nick doesn’t do that yet. We’ve got to do a better job with him (Ward). You know, 40 points in the paint but yet 5-for-18 from the three with, I thought, a lot of pretty good shots, pretty good looks  - you know we just didn’t make any shots. That’s mind boggling to me, the way we’ve been shooting so far in the summer and in the fall, but I don’t know. We’ll get back to work on that this week, I promise you.
 
On Ben Carter’s play…
It’s really difficult and it’ll be the hardest with Ben right now because I can’t, you know, tomorrow we’ll see how he feels and the leg has been pretty good, but I’m not going to rely on that right now at this point in time in the season. Gavin (Schilling) is probably healthier, although Ben has been good, but I mean in better shape…how many minutes did Ben play? Eight, so you know I was hoping to get him up to 10-12 minutes here in the pre-season and you know and that’s going to depend on how he plays. I had a couple of guys who have been playing good who didn’t play as good (tonight). Kenny (Goins) has been playing pretty good, struggled a little bit. I think part of it was the way I substituted, so again I’ll take the first blame.

On how eager the team is to get the season going next week…
I think that’s part of the problem. They let us practice in the summer now which is good, but it makes it long. They started us two weeks earlier – it feels like we’ve been practicing for 100 years already. I think that’s part of it and you play exhibition games, we played pretty well against Georgia. We didn’t play as well…you know I’m not sure, I think they want to play real teams now and that’s no insult to the two teams we’ve played because both of them at times played pretty well against us. I think this team is ready for it, I think they’re sick of the practices. That was a long week this past week. We played on Sunday and you know we had Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and that’s a lot of time. Pretty soon now we’ll have some more time this week but we’re going to shoot a little bit more. Morning, noon and night, in fact. Once we start playing then it’ll be every three-four days, two-three days even and I think that’ll be better to get in that routine to be honest. We’ll try to get better but the important thing right now is we win a football game tomorrow so see you all there.

Sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges


On the positives to take away from today’s game…
We played really well defensively, it was a great team coming, back doors, off the ball, moving. They (Hillsdale) were just moving non-stop, so it was great for us to have that game.

On transitioning from the preseason to the regular season...
We've just got to get better on offense, we’re doing pretty good defensively. Communicating, doing all that, we just got to get better offensively and make shots.

Redshirt junior forward Kenny Goins

On what he can take away from this game going into the regular season…
I just think in exhibition as a whole, we played three completely different teams. Ferris is just overall a great team. They’ve got a lot of talent. One of the big men I think is picked to be an All-American this year. Georgia is a great team in the SEC. They’re going to do great this year and have a good season. They’ll probably give Kentucky a run for the championship. This team right here, Hillsdale, they just have such a great offense with backdoors and all that, different screens. It was just so much communication for us, which was kind of what we lacked a little bit in the first two games. Just testing all three different aspects of the defensive area kind of helped us out and seeing how we matched up against different sizes. They weren’t that big tonight, Georgia was a lot bigger and Ferris was a little mix and match. We’re just testing ourselves, really.

On whether this game helps going into the regular season…
Definitely. All three of the games helped, just to get to play together. Practice helps too, but it’s not the same. You play with different match-ups out here in games and so just kind of the mix and match of our roster and our lineups, too, helped out. I think it’ll come together how it usually does later in the year, but each game is a step toward the right direction.


 

 

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