Michigan State 69, Texas Southern 41
 
 
 

 

 
 

Nov. 18, 2012

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Recap

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening Statements…
Not a very great performance. We are still in a stage where we are trying to figure out who will be in our playing group. We’re trying to get Alex Gauna in to see how he’s going to react and trying to get Brandan Kearney in to see how he responds. We’re trying to find out who can be our backup point guard with Travis Trice still out. It’s hurting us a little bit—we played 10 guys over 12 minutes and that’s almost impossible to do. But it’s something that I have to do looking at the big picture. In limited minutes Adreian Payne got seven rebounds and nine points and Derrick Nix got 11 rebounds only playing 20 minutes. They never got the ball on offense and that was the game plan. I have too many guys jacking shots right now and the guy that should be taking more, which is Keith Appling, is not. I felt like Appling and Gary Harris played really well together. Other than that we were a little dysfunctional because of the number of guys. I just want to make sure it’s the players that pair it down and not the coaches and the only way to do that is to let people play. I didn’t think we played with the same energy level and that’s disappointing.

On Derrick Nix not being in the starting lineup…

I’m trying to look at different lineups. I’m going to try and give a couple guys a chance to play and thought this would be a good game to do it. We didn’t do a very good job of it and some of that falls on me. I also felt like I needed to get Russell Byrd watching the game for a bit and when I put him in, I thought he did some good things defensively but he is struggling to shoot the ball. Not all things work the way you draw them up but the biggest thing that didn’t work today was getting the ball inside and that was disappointing.

On the continued improvement of Denzel Valentine…
One of his issues is always trying to hit the home runs and forgets about the singles. He had five assists and only one turnover which was great but I didn’t think we ran our break and did the things we need to do. I think he is taking a couple NBA threes and hasn’t shown he can shoot that consistently. I love Denzel but I’m still not ready to say he’s doing the things he needs to do on a consistent basis. He got his turnovers down which is a big thing from the previous games, but right now he has to get better defensively and being vocal.

On the performance of Adreian Payne…
After the first five minutes I thought he played really well. He seems to always be in foul trouble early but I thought after that he really played within himself. He rebounded well; he blocked shots and finished some plays. Seven rebounds and nine points in the limited time he played is good. We cut our turnovers down a little bit but the ones we made aren’t what they should be.

On the continued success of Gary Harris…
Gary has been as solid as anybody. He’s making free throws, but if I had to pick a negative about him it would be his rebounding. I think he could be a phenomenal rebounder and he isn’t doing that very well. He is running the court, hitting open shots and always ready to shoot. He gets ten shots but I think he let every one come to him. He, Denzel and Keith at times played really well together and will continue to improve. We have to start defining roles which is hard to do with some of these goofy injuries.

On the performance of Matt Costello…
I really liked the first few minutes in the first half from Costello, but he took a few questionable shots. We have to do a better job of taking good shots. The guys taking good shots are the best shooters and the guys that aren’t taking good shots aren’t the best shooters. I thought Costello defended well and we tried to play him a decent amount of minutes, but his conditioning is a long way from where he needs to be which isn’t his fault. I liked what I saw though, he is going to give us some toughness and I think for the first game he has played in he did a good job.

On the update on Travis Trice’s injury…
Trice actually smiled yesterday which sounds ridiculous, but that poor kid has been through hell. He’s not out of anything yet but he’s definitely better than two days ago and we are starting to see some progress. Your guess as to when he will be back is as good as mine, but they say when you see some [progress] usually good things will follow. I think that is a very important part of this team right now just because of the stability he gives us.

Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis

On what Coach Davis got out of the game…
Well we were trying to do some things that we can build on and get better as a basketball team. We knew it would be a definite challenge for us, especially after playing Friday night and flying out Saturday. All we wanted to do was try to improve our transition game and ball-screen game without movement. We knew Michigan State would be very physical against us. We knew that we would have a challenge on the backboards and transition. So, we wanted to have something to build on for Tuesday night. We played Northwestern last week, they beat us pretty good, but then we came home and beat a Lafayette team. Now, we come here and play Michigan State. We have Oakland at home Tuesday night, a very important home game for us and hopefully we can show some improvement the way we showed some last week against Northwestern.

On how it was seeing Coach Fife and the MSU Coaching staff…
It was great because it was the first time we played and if we lost, it was no problem. We’re just trying to build the basketball team, when seeing Coach Fife. Seeing Coach Garland was also great for me. And Coach Izzo, we’ve had a great relationship in the past. Just being in this arena without any pressure winning a basketball game is a nice feeling.

On thoughts of this Michigan State team compared to ones in the past…
Well, it’s early. I thought they really fought hard. I think they’re really, really, really physical. It may be the big guys that do a great job of getting down on ball screens. They do a great job of rebounding the ball. I think they’re playing defensively. Last time I played them, they kind of played the gaps and kind of backed off and switched up. But, today it was really getting in the passing lanes and trying to get steals. I loved the physicalness they played. I thought they played together as a basketball team.

On Texas Southern’s rebounding game…
Well, that’s what I told our guys. We’re just trying to get better. Win or lose, we’re always trying to get better as a basketball team. I want to have something we can take back and build because Tuesday is a very important game for us. We knew they would really play well on the boards—that’s how they play.

We’re not that big. We’re a small basketball team. In our league, if we can play with this kind of intensity and give this kind of effort we will make shots in our league. These guys are really big, long and athletic. But, I thought our two big guys, one had 12 rebounds, one had 11. We played a game earlier this year, a scrimmage where we only had nine rebounds the whole game. So for us to continue to get better rebounding the basketball will really be great for us.