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Men's Basketball
Post Game Quotes: McNeese State



Nov. 8, 2013

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Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

Opening remarks...
A lot of good things happened. We went into the game and wanted to do a better job of the dribble penetration; I'd say we were ok at that. We wanted to do a better job rebounding the ball; I thought we did a really good job with that. We wanted to not turn the ball over; I thought that was the worst thing we did all night. We had so many foolish turnovers that first half. Our bigs didn't go after it. Our guards kind of laid it up there. On a positive note, when you get three guys with a double-double, when you get 32 assists on 42 baskets, when you get five or six guys in double figures, and still not playing anybody over 25-26 minutes, I think there's a lot of positives. The way we got a little crazy at the end, that's not the way I want to play. I want to try to finish games this year. We did a pretty good job against a tougher lineup for us; they were so small. Of course, you can see why the rebounding total would be like it is, but they were quick and then we were guarding with four men and that was a little harder. I think our guys deserve some credit, even though I wouldn't give them very much, you might. There are still a lot of good things. It's hard to maintain when you're up by that many points. You know what, now we get to do something that I've waited a long time to do and that's to get a chance to play in a big game early in the season.

On the contribution of Travis Trice and Branden Dawson now they're healthy...
I can't believe I didn't bring that up. There are two big pluses. Gary (Harris) actually missed some wide open shots that were halfway down, but Trice came in and was the difference in the first half. Branden and I had a big meeting two days ago and talked about, we didn't run anything for him and he was unbelievable. He just made a lot of things happen. He got a lot of loose balls. He was the only guy in there rebounding at times, tipping balls, running the lane, passing. He had five assists. That's the Branden Dawson I thought we'd see. I'm happy for him. The kid has been through a lot, but I think he learned something too. A motor is an interesting thing and when he turns and cranks that thing up, he's a pretty good player.

On reaching his predecessor Jud Heathcote in years...
I really haven't thought about it. I guess I look at it like I've been here so long because I've been here since my GA days. I guess making it past Jud is going to be a milestone, but I think the milestone I want is to get more wins, more championships and more banners. One thing this team does do for you is that it's a fun team to be around so far. Let's face it, it's going to get a lot tougher from here on out. They do stick together, so it's fun to be around them.

On playing Alvin Ellis III...
It was something I talked to Alvin about. It's always up to the player and I think Alvin wanted to do it. I had mixed feelings because there are times I wanted him to redshirt for his sake, and times not to redshirt for our sake. He just wanted to be a part of this team and I don't blame him for that. It's all good and Alvin can play. He's going to help us. The key is just going to be how many minutes he's going to get.

McNeese State Head Coach Dave Simmons

Opening statement...
We knew it was going to be a tough battle coming in playing the number-two team in the nation. They're really good. One thing we looked at, we know they're great out in transition, they talk about up tempo and the kind of the style we want to play is exactly what they did. We tried to trade rebounding, then we went with a small lineup for shots, and we knew going into this game that we had to make shots. We just didn't make enough shots. Obviously, their defensive pressure bothered us, but the biggest thing is, we came to play, this is how we're going to play this year when we line up. But the biggest thing is that we faced a phenomenal basketball team tonight, first class, Coach Izzo, his program, and I'm looking forward to watching the game [Michigan State vs. Kentucky] on Tuesday. But it's a great opportunity for our basketball program. Now we know what we've got to do to get better, and that's the biggest thing.

On Michigan State sophomore guard Gary Harris and the rest of the Spartans...
We knew he was picked preseason MVP of the league, but there are so many good players on their team and you forget about some of the other guys that shot the ball well. I think Keith (Appling) distributed very well, he was very patient and he got the guys good shots, and we tried zone, and sooner or later (Coach Izzo) just came with guys that started knocking down shots and it made it very difficult for us. But Harris is a very good player, I know he's still young, but the future is bright for this basketball team when you keep good young talent like that in your program. Hard to do that, to keep them for four years, but from top to bottom, they're just a very deep basketball team and you can't underestimate anyone who's coming off the bench because they can play, and obviously they're deserving of all the preseason rankings that they have right now.

On his team's quick start in the first four minutes of tonight's game...
We're pretty happy. You've got to remember, we missed a couple shots and probably had a turnover after that and probably could have got one or two more points. But I think, looking at what we did early, we're going to take a lot of positive things in it. But of course, you can't get outrebounded 66-29 in this game, and we knew they were a great rebounding team. But there are some positive things we can take back from this, but we've got to build on this game and find out how to play with this type of caliber team, what do we have to do better, and obviously that's what we're going to go back home and work on.




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