Reaction from head coaches Tom Izzo and Steve Shields.
Dec. 3, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
"First I'd like to thank the city of Grand Rapids and all of Van Andel Arena. I thought the atmosphere was great, the crowd was great, the turnout was great, the team wasn't great but they found a way to win. Secondly, I told Steve (Shields) after the game I thought his team played with a tenacity that we're really just missing. We're getting out-rebounded numerous times, we're struggling with our power forward position, and I think struggling with the continuity."
On the team's overall performance
"We just don't seem in sync; we've got a guy that can shoot, a guy that can just rebound, and a guy that can defend, and we're trying to work Matt (Trannon) in there a little bit. But every time we have something good happen we have something bad happen. I thought in the second half, the effort by Paul Davis and Drew Neitzel, who has had two very good games back-to-back, that's the encouraging part. Our toughness is not where it needs to be - where it's at is not where it needs to be. It wasn't that our team performed poorly, I thought more they (Arkansas-Little Rock) played well."
On Arkansas-Little Rock's transition defense:
"They did a good job, but we didn't get any clean rebounds. I thought their aggressiveness was good. They switched, they came on us, they hassled us, they strong-armed us, and you could really see Naymick struggle with strength, Suton struggles with strength, and Gray is still coming, though he is more understandable because he's missed so much time."
Arkansas-Little Rock head coach Steve Shields:
"We talked this morning about how there was no margin for error, number one. Number two- there were three critical statistical categories, rebounding margin, turnover margin and our ability to get to the foul line. I thought there were two phases towards the end of the first half - when we had a 23-16 lead, I think we had six turnovers at the end of the half which enabled Michigan State to go on a run going into the half with the game tied at 30. Then to start the second half, they opened with an 11-2 run, obviously from any coach's stand point, those are critical points in a game."
On Michigan State's ability to run:
"To watch them on tape, I have never scouted a team, or seen a team, that is so efficient at running transition, after made baskets or misses. He (Tom Izzo) and his staff obviously do an unbelievable job at getting out and running. I would just like to see a couple of their practices to see what they do to get those guys to run."