MSU Spartans
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Men's Basketball
Michigan State 89, Central Connecticut 69



Dec. 7, 2011

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Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

Opening Statement
Do what I do. Take the scouting reports and stick it where the sun doesn't shine. It looks a lot more impressive than the game does. I think for the first time all year I was disappointed in our focus and our effort, especially with a couple of players in that first eight minutes when they scored 26 points, than I've been all year. When people, fans, media, talk shows wonder why coaches don't give that much credit, it's usually because people can't accept it. There's been a little too much credit given so we're back to dog eat dog. We did not play very well. We did not do the things defensively. I had a couple of guys that didn't check anybody. We didn't rebound very well. The stat sheet looks awesome. That just goes to show you how ridiculous the stat sheet is.

On Brandon Wood and Adreian Payne's defensive performances...
When you start off with a jump ball and you're knocking into the nickel seats, your mind isn't there. In fairness to Brandon Wood, he has some things back home that nothing wrong, nothing with him, but with family. I was worried about his focus going in. He just did not cover anybody. So those two guys, really struggled defensively. I was trying to find some lineups that were going to guard somebody. Then I was trying to find some that would shoot the ball. Eventually I found some but those two guys, didn't start off very good exactly.

On Travis Trice's stats...
When you really look at it (Travis) Trice looked good. (Branden) Dawson's looked good. He was another guy that wasn't in there very long early. But Trice made some shots. (Derrick) Nix deserves half the credit for that. He passed it through hard from the post, even though he threw too many out. Sometimes he should have shot but every pass he threw out was right there for Trice to make a shot. Give Travis credit. He started stepping in, something he hasn't been doing. We still pushed the ball pretty good. We did some good things there. Our problems weren't offensive even though we missed some shots. Our problems were defensive today.

On what kind of benefit will playing a team like Central Connecticut give them...
We could say that they were going to shoot a lot of threes. So we went into this game saying the 3-point shot, we defended. I think they shot seven in the last game in the second half. They had nine tonight. That's going to happen when you have a couple of guards not guarding anybody. I give them credit, too. I'm not real pleased with my team, but I am pleased with how Howie's team. I thought they played their tail off. They played hard. They almost outrebounded us. I don't think we have been outrebounded this year. They did a great job there. I thought, where against Florida State we got every loose ball, every 50/50 rebound, every ball that was knocked loose. Today, they got them all. That's disappointing because that's an effort related stat. Maybe you are going to have a letdown. We have been playing pretty consistent. We've gotten off some great starts. I even talked to my team. Whether it be Carolina or Duke, we got off to great starts all year long. We were sure in the fought. The credit I gave them will be earned from now on, not given. I can promise you that.

On if he was surprised to see his team pass up on some open shots...
You know what's bad about that question, is that I get paid a lot of money to understand if a shot was open or not, but no insult but you are a media guy and you can see that. Just think, that's what I tell my guy. 14,000 people could see it. You don't need to get paid to see it. They did pass some up and it was ridiculous. Somebody will be dumb enough to say that Izzo doesn't want them shooting. But I had fun yanking some guys for not taking shots. That was interesting to me.

On if Russell Byrd felt more engaged and comfortable on the floor tonight...
Russell (Byrd) was a little more engaged, a little more comfortable. We played him at the four because they went smaller. I think it helped him to not just stand around the 3-point line looking for shots. I would have to agree with that. I thought he looked a little more comfortable. It was just so disappointing that 90 percent of our perimeter guys were kind of very average defensively. We did make some adjustments, which was a good thing. We decided to start switching more and doing some things we haven't been able to do with this group because they are so inexperienced. So we made that change at halftime and it helped some. I thought that was good for them. Russell was better.

On Brandan Kearney checking in a lot early in this game than past games...
I can sub guys to check and then I have to get guys to shoot. I can sub guys to shoot and then I have to get guys to check. When (Brandon) Wood is in, he's been pretty solid the last couple of games but he really struggled early. I just decided to go with a guy that can check somebody. Brandan (Kearney) does a decent job and that's why our rotation is not good yet because I honestly don't know what sub I'm going to put in myself because everybody has kind of been up down, up down. I say that with a 20 point win against a pretty good team. Not a great team, and they're a little beat up, but they're a pretty good team. They are very well coached.

On the challenge of Gonzaga...
(Elias) Harris probably has a big bone right now that he's licking because watching AP (Adreian Payne) inside, he probably just can't wait to get a hold of him. I told AP that, so I hope you tell him that too. We're going to have to play a lot better inside. That was as big of a disappointment. My only regret is that I didn't get (Alex) Gauna a little more time. I thought he was okay when he was in there. We are going to have to guard (Robert) Sacre with a committee. They brought more fouls, watching the Illinois game. I couldn't believe how many fouls they brought. We are just going to have to play a lot better than we played inside. Our outside defense has been pretty good, but tonight it wasn't. That's disappointing going into a big game. You kind of hope to go in there on a high, then again, we'll be practicing more fun tomorrow.

Central Connecticut State Head Coach Howie Dickenman

Opening Statement...
Coming to the game I was concerned we would be intimidated. Michigan State, big team, big name, Big Ten, the crowd. But thought we held our own, played well for 20-22 minutes of the game but then we got warn down, their size played a major factor in the game. They did a good job of defending the low post, they made shots and seemed like they came easier in the second half, so our defense wasn't as good.

I was pleased we only had 11 turnovers and got 23 offensive rebounds against a team that is very physical. I don't think we'll play another team this year that is as big and as strong as Michigan State. I think we gave it our best shot. Some of our players that had been doing well in the past statistically weren't quite there today as we had hoped. But the players we played against were bigger and stronger then we've played all year and they took advantage of that as they should have.

I am impressed by the unselfishness of Michigan State. Obviously well coached; 25 assists. I have always have been a Michigan State fan, a Tom Izzo fan.

On Ken Horton getting in foul trouble...
(Ken) Horton going down should not have affected the team. If someone goes down we need a player to pick him up but we didn't have that luxury today, maybe another day. Hopefully he doesn't go down again.

On the secret to the success on the offensive glass...
We missed so many shots. I can say we played good for a half and hope to build on that. I told the team no matter what happened, play hard whether the result is close or not; 20 points or two points, whatever it is, there is no such thing as a moral victory.




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