MSU Spartans
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Men's Basketball
Post-Game Quotes: Indiana (PA)



Nov. 4, 2013

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Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

Opening statements...
Our defense wasn't like the football team's. I really wasn't happy because when you finish poorly you're never happy. I think it's one of the things we try to talk to our team about is are you going to sustain some excellence or are we just going to not finish games. For all the good things there was, when you finish a game, when you miss seven of your last nine shots and you give up some shots. All the work that you did so well and then you end up shooting 47% which should have been 55. Missed four 3's at the end, could have shot almost 50% from the three. If you want to talk to any of our players, just come to the gym, they'll be in cots sleeping there shooting free throws; really disappointed in that. The good things were I thought we ran well. Keith Appling, when everybody asked if he's improved his decision-making, 11 assists no turnovers, scored three points only and kind of took care of the game and that's what happens when (Gary) Harris is making shots. I thought (Denzel) Valentine played pretty well. I thought Branden Dawson played better with some of the things he did defensively. We had some bright spots but the last eight minutes were ridiculous. I think we scored five points but more importantly we called timeouts, we talked about it. One thing I'm really bothered with this team is we made a turnover, then a crazy turnover, then Trav (Trice). We had one turn into three or four and we did that in the last game in a four or five minute stretch. That was the bad news; the good news is Gary (Harris) I thought played very well on both ends of the court. As I said, Keith (Appling) was good. BJ and Adreian (Payne) played better, especially in the later part of the first half and the start of the second half. Zel (Denzel Valentine) was pretty good too. The bigs, after Alex (Gauna) playing good, kind of, went on sabbatical there in the second half. (Gavin) Schilling did some real good things in battling but he also has got to slow himself down. When you're playing 11 guys, I guess you're going to have some of that and I've got to understand it but anything that resembles last year's team - and I mean this in a positive way because they were very good last year, but we have to take a step up and so when we do those things it's not good.

On the unselfish play of the team...
I talked to my team - part of the team prayer was about our unselfishness. There is no question we have guys pulling for one another. I think we got a little bit playing the score and casting some shots but as you say 24 (assists) of 30 (made field goals) and we missed some good shots. That things could have been - just down the stretch - it could have been 30 of 36 and if we just make some free throws we're in the 90's and those were some goals we had. If we can keep being as unselfish and pulling for one another - to be on our bench, besides me, yelling about something - it's unbelievable how those guys pull for each other. It's really impressive.

On Russell Byrd's progression...
I'm pleased with Russell. He keeps battling. He's in here morning, noon, and night. He's probably spending as much time as anybody. Last night he was in, the night before late and brought BJ in. Russ is starting to get the edge back a little bit. If I can get Alex (Gauna) to do that because Alex has been playing real well, those two guys could end up a lot better than they've performed the last three years. That was encouraging, but we got them good shots too. We had some good shots. I think there's one thing we have to look at is we're starting to spread out a little bit more on those 3's, take some from two-three feet behind the line instead of right on the line. Russell did a nice job and as you said even got a couple rebounds and not turning the ball over, not trying to do too much - I was really pleased with him on that.

On Keith Appling's transformation with 11 assists vs. one field goal tonight...
The only thing I wasn't pleased with Keith, I thought he passed up some shots and that's hard because you're passing it good. I want to make sure he's catching the ball ready to shoot and maybe pulling up on the break a little bit more. He had a little bit of trouble with the zone - we haven't worked much in the zone at all, at all - and I didn't think they'd zone us the whole game. We weren't very sharp and I got to take more blame for that than those guys do as far as moving. We tried BJ inside which was good but he didn't know where to go as well. We're going to get better at that and that definitely is a coaching error, not a player error. Keith still found a way to run the team and he's pushing the ball. With him and Trav we are running, I think really well. If we can start wearing teams down and doing some things we're going to pick up our defense. There are some things - I should thank Joe (Lombardi) for playing all zone, because we didn't show much and that's kind of what you want to do this time of year with big games coming up.

On MSU minimizing their turnovers during the exhibition season...
Last year we played the same competition and it was - in fact, I think this team is going to be really good. You watch, they'll be a good Division II. Grand Valley missing a guy wasn't maybe as good but I do think we can get something out of it, I do think we can take something from it. The unselfishness, the reversing of the ball because we've got guys running getting in spots. (Matt) Costello is kind of an unsung hero too, even though I didn't feel he rebounded the ball very well early he did late, but he runs that middle and sucks the wings in. To give Gary (Harris) a second right now, the two he missed he was mad about and so was I because I thought they were good shots. I think it really is good for Keith that we're running. I think it's good for Gary that BJ is even getting out there a little bit more. We get Zel and Trav, we're going to be able to do some things. I'd say the one other negative that concerned me - I don't think we're rebounding the ball very well. Part of that is, I think everybody is so paranoid of injuries in college basketball right now - that's the second thing I'm going to take full blame for is we just haven't played war, we haven't done the things as much as we need to do and that's going to get cranked up this week. Guys were going up with us and they were coming down with rebounds, there weren't a lot of clean rebounds except for ones that bounced along. So we're going to have to do a better job of that and we will that this week, I promise you.

Indiana University (PA) Head Coach Joe Lombardi

Opening Statements...
First of all, I'm grateful for the opportunity Coach Izzo gave us to come up and play tonight. We've played a lot of (exhibition) games over the last four or five years. One year we played Maryland, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. We took Georgia Tech to overtime and we were beating Maryland at the half last year, so we've had a program that has been competitive in these types of games. Michigan State is by far the best team that we've played over the last four years. Tonight was all about them. They really create a lot of problems with their ability to shoot the ball. (Gary) Harris stretches the defense. I know he was hurt at some points last year, but he looks healthy. Add that to their ability to pass and share the ball and I think they're a terrific offensive team. They have a lot of answers in different ways. Defensively, they're very well coached and it's hard to get easy shots against them.

On what the team gains from this game...
There are a couple things we gain. The first thing we gain is that our guys are a little extra motivated in September and October because of these games. It's a motivating factor for them and it makes my job as a coach a little easier when you have to do preseason conditioning and things like that. The second thing is that I'm always trying to learn. This game got started a couple years ago when I came up and watched Coach Izzo's practice. I've always been a big fan of his and admired him as a coach and how he runs his program. I came up to learn and I want my players to learn. They're going to learn from teams that are well coached. They're going to learn from teams that know how to compete. Hopefully we can carry some of those things over into our season. Losing is okay. We had some success over the last five years, so this is a good opportunity for us to lose. Losing is the best teacher that you have. It opens up kids ears and opens their eyes when they see it on tape.

On matching up with Adreian Payne...
Well, I don't know if we played one possession of zone last year, but with a new emphasis on some rules, I was concerned about having enough guys to finish the game. Fouls can add up quickly. We like to play man (defense). Adreain (Payne) is a versatile player. Last year (Derrick) Nix really did a great job in the post and gave them a post presence. I think as time goes on coach (Izzo) will find a little bit of a greater post presence for them. He (Adreian Payne) shoots the ball and just stretches (the defense). Anytime you can put four guys perimeter - he helps the offense not by only making shots, but he helps the offense because he spaces the floor. They do a great job of creating space for each other to operate. You're making each other better when you can space the floor like that. Obviously, we had no answers for how quickly they were getting the ball up the floor. We're not used to that type of speed, but I think our guys were working hard. When they attacked with the dribble, they found the guys they need. I thought they really shared the ball well tonight, which was impressive because sometimes there's a tendency that when you're playing the lower level team, they'll go out and try and get theirs. But I thought their guys played very unselfishly tonight.




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