Dec. 1, 2012
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo Quotes
Well it’s hard to evaluate that game. You have to give them [Nicholls State] a little credit that one of their best players didn’t play and that hurt them, and left it a little bit hard to evaluate for us. But as I told my team, there’s a lot of teams around the country that are playing in these games – a lot of them. And I told my staff on the bench, seeing Byrd hit a shot and smile, sometimes you don’t get to do when you’re playing some of the teams we’re playing all the time and not getting much break or much practice time. So the good of playing a tough schedule a lot of times is the benefit is at the end, the bad is sometimes guys never get some confidence.
We needed a game like this. We needed a game where we shot it pretty well, 60%, shot pretty well from the three, we didn’t take very many of them. It was hard to rebound, we were only up a couple of them at halftime, but when they [Nicholls State] had 15 turnovers, there weren’t a lot of rebounds to get. And maybe the negative stat was the 13 for 23 from the line. The most impressive two stats were the eight turnovers, took care of the ball a little better, and 20 assists on 33 baskets. Because in games like that it can get out of hand, and I thought we did a pretty good job of sharing the basketball, and that was good.
We get something different now: we’ll actually get two days to practice for our next two games, and that will seem like an eternity for this team. But I think we can at least say we took a small step forward with a lot of steps to go, but a small step forward and it was good for us.
On his team’s lineup changes today…
It wasn’t a fair evaluation [today]. I’m not going to fool myself that it was a fair evaluation of what we need. I’m going to need a couple more games to look at it. I did like the way Adreian [Payne] came off the bench and had some energy , he’s really got a nasty cold and that, but he did some good things. He was kind of active in there for the minutes he played.
I thought we did a little better of subbing not by groups, even though it turned out that way. I still played a lot of players in this game. It will start shrinking down some. [Branden] Dawson played only 19 or 20 minutes, he’ll play more minutes than that but we wanted to give some other guys a chance.
On playing a game that allowed for more players to play and to enjoy themselves…
I thought I had a bunch of guys with no teeth. It’s hard to smile when you’re going through what we went through. It was just better on the bench and everything. Like I said, you can’t have a lot of those kind of games either because there’s things you don’t get better at. But we did get better at sharing the ball and getting it inside, getting it out, playing defense for sometimes 30 seconds because they really worked the ball around a lot – that was probably good for us.
I don’t want to get fooled by it because I know they [Nicholls State] didn’t have their full group, but I want to be encouraged that it was fun to see guys pull for one another. I thought we did a great job of that. The game plan and things we went into the game with, I thought we did a pretty good job with.
Nicholls State head coach J.P. Piper Quotes
I’ll start by saying that we are thrilled that Michigan State welcomed us here today and we’re very sorry we weren’t able to put a little more competitive team on the floor. Unfortunately we are decimated right now with some injuries and sickness, and that’s a very good basketball team. I don’t know if we could have come in here and won a game but I think we could have been more competitive than what you saw. Having said that I thought the kids we put on the floor competed and did the things that we asked them to do. Unfortunately they were put in a situation they really weren’t prepared for and that showed up a little too much in the game. The Colonels will be OK and we will regroup and get better. By the time we get into conference play we will be good. I’ve been following Michigan State and they probably needed this today. Get some things to go well for them and get on a little roll before they head into their conference play.
On why Fred Hunter did not play…
Fred had an ACL injury a year and a half ago and it took a hamstring graft to repair his knee, and the place where that graft was taken was strained in our last game. Because of the location of the strain we have been super cautious. He’s had some swelling and when we got off the plane the other day to work out he was a little stiff and wasn’t feeling good. We felt like if he couldn’t go last night we weren’t going to try this morning. So we didn’t even make an effort to get him on the floor which is unfortunate. I thought for our team it was an unbelievable opportunity to put Fred in a tough situation and challenge him to see how he can compete at this level. He had done well against Vanderbilt and Missouri so we were excited to test him out here, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
On how Michigan State compares to Missouri …
I would say that the guard play is comparable. The guard from Missouri is a lot like Appling; he can hurt you in different ways and runs the team. They both have kids on the perimeter that can make shots. I would give Missouri the nod in the post, but I think coach Izzo has more big bodies then them so from a depth standpoint they have the edge. We struggled to rebound the ball more today and it felt like they were a lot bigger than what we saw at Missouri. I would like to see those two teams play. We will host them in Tibodeaux and sell tickets.