Dec. 3, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo
I hope nobody takes me wrong when I say that was a very good team, and that they didn't play as well and we did play well. I feel that those three possessions right before halftime were the best we've played defensively here ever. That says a lot with the respect I have for my championship teams. To be able to switch four guys like we did, Suton had a tough job early and did a phenomenal job. For those of you that haven't seen this team play, I'm telling you they're really good and very well coached.
I thought our switching maybe screwed them up a little bit and didn't give them the open looks, they got some late. I guess I was pleased with just about all of our game, first half and second half. We executed and we did not run our offense really well, give credit to them for taking us out of it in the first half. We rebounded at halftime and did a better job. Our rebounding was great. I thought Suton would have a big game but he got into some foul trouble. We got more out of Gray and more out of Naymick. Idong did what he had to do, and Walton was scoring a little bit more.
I guess one of the things when people ask me about this team is why I didn't play Drew Neitzel down the stretch because I thought I would rest him some, then I put him back in for a minute. Travis Walton had nine assists and I didn't know about it, but somebody said it on the bench. So I went to take out Travis and Drew said "Take me out, leave him in. He's got a chance to get 10 assists." Those are the kind of things I am looking for out of this team and I appreciate it.
Everything went better than I thought it would, but don't disregard this team. They're a Missouri Valley team, and when you look at what the Missouri Valley has done this season so far with different teams, they are beating up BCS type schools. We gave this an incredible amount of prep time and the best part is it paid off as our players responded and worked very hard.
As far as the Marquise Gray incident, it was not all his fault. He said something that wasn't a swear word but it wasn't something the referee wanted to hear or Marquise wanted to hear. It wasn't meant the way it was taken. I didn't appreciate it, but after talking to him I had an understanding. I think that's more of a little deal than a big deal.
On MSU's defensive performance...
We had a good first half defensively, but we didn't execute as well on offense and we gave up those three, big threes that weren't even in a half-court defense. One when Travis was in zone and we were in man, and one when we fell down and the kid didn't get back and they had a wide open three. I just thought defensively, and maybe they just missed some shots, everything we wanted to do we did defensively. We bounced back in the second half and did not drop down, in fact in some ways we picked it up. We executed better offensively. I was impressed with us.
Bradley Head Coach Jim Les
I credit Michigan State because that was a thorough butt-kicking. I thought they played extremely well, and we didn't come to play. I apologized to coach Izzo for not giving him a better game. More so than execution, I was just disappointed in the competitiveness and intensity that our team showed. We'll make sure we clean that up and that doesn't happen again.
On Michigan State's defensive effort...
They're a real big, physical defensive team. I thought we let some early opportunities that we didn't make affect us. It kind of carried over and snowballed from there. We had some good opportunities early, but we didn't convert, and I thought it got into our head a little bit.
I'm just disappointed that Michigan State didn't get a taste of Bradley basketball. Our kids usually show a little bit more fight, fire and intensity. Regardless, if we miss all of our shots, that's fine. I wanted Michigan State to know they were in a back-alley fight, they had their way with us pretty easily, and that's disappointing.