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Post Game Quotes

Nov. 13, 2015

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Michigan State coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement...
This was kind of a funny game for me. I have so much respect for Eric [Snow] and Michael Curry - I feel like Michael [Curry] is one of us with his son having played here and everything. The team was very good defensively, and I thought they did some very good things. I thought we did some real good things and some real average things. I don't know what I would grade us. We hit 25 assists and 30 baskets, that's unbelievable. Shoot 60 percent at the line after all that work this summer was unbelievable. I thought we rebounded pretty well, and I thought we were missing a sense of urgency, so I was a little disappointed. Denzel [Valentine] has some big numbers, but he was just okay and they tell me Deyonta Davis is only the third freshman to get a double-double in his first game. One of them was Matt [Steigenga], our radio guy, and the other was [Derrick] Nix - I'm just trying to figure out what he got the double-double in - donuts and rebounds? I don't know what it was but I guess [Derrick] Nix had it in his first game, so it's quite a feat for Deyonta [Davis], he actually did a lot of good things. He's still a little weak, I thought their big guy [C.J.] Turman was good. He hurt us a little bit. It doesn't bold well for us in the future without [Gavin] Schilling - that had an effect on us. The way Deyonta [Davis] played today at least he showed some fire. DJ (Dwayne Stephens) kept saying to him on the bench, `why don't you do this in practice?' I think it was a learning lesson for our guys and I thought we did enough work, but we know we're nowhere near we're going to be and yet think there were enough bright spots, at times, we showed we could be pretty good.

On this opener compared to close game against Navy last year...
Part of it is, I think it helped this summer a little bit to be honest with you. The freshmen we were playing, other than Deyonta [Davis], last year, when we were playing those freshmen, Alvin [Ellis III] has gotten hurt in the first play, we didn't have Bryn [Forbes], we just had no experience out there and I think that hurt us a little bit, but it definitely was smoother. There were times we moved the ball pretty well, we got it inside, we got it outside. The negative of playing so many guys in the two preseason games is I don't think guys know how to play together yet, we don't know who is where and why and when. The ball goes in and it didn't come out enough. Earlier on it didn't go in enough. We're just trying to find each other and find ourselves a little bit. It's going to definitely take some time, unfortunately, we're going into the fire against a team that's very veteran. Four starters back and probably as good as an inside game and the way they play, this will be a huge test for Deyonta [Davis] and Matt [McQuaid]. We'll see what four-man we can get to play a little bit maybe better. It's going to be a test.

On Schilling playing on Tuesday...
It doesn't look like it. I think we'll know more on Sunday when he gets another MRI, but it's not broken, they know that. It's one of those turf toes, if most of you guys follow football that's where it's more common. It can be a painful injury that drags on, but the good news is that it wasn't right at the toe, it was down a little farther, which they say gives it a better chance to heal once it settles down. Does it settle down tonight, tomorrow, the next night? I don't know. I'd say its 50-50 at best - maybe worse than that. One thing I've realized over these past couple of years is that I'm not a doctor.

On the ball movement on the offensive end...
We sat on the bench, and we didn't think we were moving it enough, but we did get some penetration, and some kicks for some shots, but I thought there was too much dribbling for what we're trying to do this year. And yet at the end, it was a drive and a kick, or a drive and a dump off, and I thought that part was really good. We had some guys that finished, made some shots. We didn't shoot it great. I said that this would be our best 3-point shooting team, and I thought we would shoot 85 percent from the line as hard as we worked at this summer. Those were really the only two negatives of the night, but I guess that's going to happen sometimes. But I was proud to get 25 assists on 30 baskets, it's hard to complain about that, even for me.

On Deyonta Davis' game...
I spent three huddles, and DJ (Dwayne Stephens) said to him, "You Deyonta, instead of patting you on the back, I'm mad at you, because why don't you practice this way, you know?" That's part of the learning process. I was really pleased with Deyonta. I think he went harder. He played against a physical guy that was pretty good. His quickness to the ball, I thought was off the charts. He'd miss a shot, and he'd be there for the tip in. His upper body strength cost him a couple times. A guy like him should be dunking some of those that he just rolled up and missed. Cost Zel an assist on one, but all-in-all the guy did a pretty good job considering he didn't get to play hardly at all in the last game.

On Spartan alumnus and FAU assistant coach Eric Snow…
I’m proud of Eric, I was proud of him when he was a player here. He was an overachiever, he made himself a player. Think that guy had a 13 year NBA career or whatever he had is unbelievable. Michael Curry is a good friend. Last time I was with Michael he flew me to Penn State, we watched his son play and our Spartans play. He is an incredible guy. I told our team that this team will be tough and they’ll defend. They were top 10 in that nation in defensive field goal percentage last year. Those two guys were two of the best defenders in the NBA when they played. That team is going to get better, they have another guy sitting out that is going to be ready. I think that team is going to be alright in that league, so maybe I am not giving up enough credit but I told Eric that tomorrow I hope they come over, because they are staying an extra day, and use our film room, our facilities and practice here. If his guys want to go to the football game, love to bring them and see if those wimpy Floridians can handle some real weather. I hope they do, I love Eric and Michael and I think those guys are what is right about college basketball.

On Matt Costello…
I am comfortable with him almost taking a three if it’s not within a fast break. He is definitely a 15-foot shooter, and he is a good shooter from there as he has worked hard on that. When he gets those jump hooks then he gets to the free throw line and when he gets to the free throw line he can shoot free throws. It is the one negative with this team, we are not getting Denzel (Valentine) to the line enough. Alvin Ellis III got there a little, our guards didn’t get to the line enough, but thank god that Costello did. Deyonta Davis got to the line twice and that is not enough either. We don’t have any balance between inside and outside and it is going to take a little while for us to learn how each other play.

On Kyle Ahrens redshirt…
Yeah we did, we talked about it and we talked about it with his parents. It was a real interesting conversation because I was an advocate of redshirting when a kid is not going to play as much, but I forgot he missed a year and a half of basketball while he was a junior when he broke that leg. He also missed about two months this summer. He said “I don’t know coach if I can mentally sit out again. I am playing good, I just want to play, I don’t care how much. Maybe down the road we can talk and maybe redshirt another year.” I think that because he sat out so long he really wanted to play and I kind of changed my opinion on it. I said “you know what, I think that’s a good move.” Who knows, we are still looking for another guy. It’s not like he is that far behind anybody. We are going to need some more depth to keep those guys playing better. We will find out in the next two weeks who belongs in that playing group and who doesn’t. So he is going to get his chance.

On his knee injury…
You know I told the officials that if I sit there I might take one of these (crutches) on one of those bad calls and whack them like those mafia guys do. It was a little sore, but I’m going to pay for it tomorrow. It was worth every minute, every second. I will say this, you brought up a good point, we’re never satisfied, but if you look where we were last year and where we are this year. I think we made some strides, I think we just need to take a couple of major steps here and when you know who you are playing next. That is why we schedule how we do. We want to see if everything we are seeing comes true. If we improve on it we are going to go there and compete and it is going to be a heck of a game. If we don’t improve on it, we are going to go there and get our butts kicked and there will be some practices. Either way this is still going to be a good time for us. We are going to learn a lot about our team. Kansas has a lot of veterans on their team especially the ones, their inside guys. Yet we are going to play better inside. We didn’t play bad but we are going to play better this week. I am really looking to maybe arguably one of the best nights of college basketball when you look at how it has been over the years, between Duke and Kentucky and us and Kansas. I want to be in those kinds of venues, I think it is great for Michigan State, I think it is great for college basketball, I think it is great for the Big Ten. I am just proud that we get the privilege to play in it for the fifth time. Everyone has been just as exciting , so we are going to find a way to meet tomorrow, go over film, have a little practice, get to the football game and cheer on our Spartans. Come back you know we have the weekend to get a couple of things done because when Monday comes, short practice and you are on the road.

Sophomore Guard Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr.

On the overall flow of the game...
I thought we came out aggressive and playing defense. They only had four points for a while in the first half. We followed the scouting report really well. But even though we won by 27 points I still think we have a lot of room to improve. We have a big week ahead of us and we really need to focus on getting better.

On the strong defensive play...
That's the main thing we need to be able to defend people. We know we can score the ball but we need to be able to get stops if we're trying to win championships.

On playing Kansas on Tuesday...
It's going to be a tough game -- it'll be a dogfight. We have to be really sharp to get a win against Kansas. They have a great coach great, great program, but if play defense like we can, box out like we can we'll be fine.

Senior guard Denzel Valentine

On the strong start but letting up throughout the game...
We came out aggressive, that's what we wanted to do. We wanted to show that we could come out to a good start. There were times in the game were we took our foot off the gas pedal, but we just need to work on that next game. We need to have a full 40-minute focus and keeping our foot on that gas pedal.

On the play of the big men...
They played huge, and I'm glad they could get this confidence before we play Kansas on Tuesday. Hopefully they can carry that on to Tuesday.

On some things they need to improve on as they move on to tougher competition...
I thought we shot it pretty well, although I think we could have shot better from the 3-point line. From the field I think we were decent. Free throw shooting we definitely need to work on a little bit.

Senior forward Matt Costello

On the strong start...
We really came out with a bunch of energy. We had strong start and tried to run from there. Everyone really put in a good effort.

On the defensive effort in the first half...
As far as the defensive effort, we really came out and emphasized that. We're a pretty athletic team and are able to get up and down pretty quickly. So our main key was to get back as fast as we could and staying in our gaps. For a minute we let their bigs go crazy, but we'll be able to lock that down on Tuesday.

On preparing for Kansas...
We played Kanas last year down in Orlando, and they gave us a great game so we kind of have a feel for them. They like to play with their bigs. Perry Ellis is a phenomenal player, so we need to key on him and play our game.


 

 

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