MSU Spartans
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Men's Basketball
Michigan State - 73, Loyola-Chicago - 61
 
 
 

 

 
 

Dec. 8, 2012

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 1  |  Photo Gallery 2 

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement...
Rick Majerus should be proud looking down. Coach Moser did an incredible job and I told the guys that this team would be physical and they will run their stuff well. Drop St. Louis in with different colors and different names and that's what it was. We had some chances and ten-point leads then made a couple foolish turnovers from our freshman. Then Keith Appling got in foul trouble and that changed things before the half. We did the same thing in the second half and had some more foolish turnovers. They hit two threes in a row and we learned that those things are going to happen, but considering that we were playing in foul trouble we got some good ball out of guys. If Nix was a hockey guy right now, he would have a lot of assists from the post to the three-point line and top of the key. Our shooters like Gary Harris said the screening was a lot better and we were getting open looks. I challenged Harris a couple times when he came out and I think the greatest thing I learned today was that he responds. Tough game; we didn't play great, but we didn't play bad. We had some poor stretches and a couple of really foolish turnovers. Denzel Valentine and Brandon Dawson are going to have to build on that, because it really changed the game several times.

On the importance of having successful outside shooting...
I think it's really important. Valentine made one of them that was a kick-out. Not having Travis Trice out there hurt and I never thought Appling got into the game because of the early foul trouble. Having Gary, Travis, Valentine, and Appling making shots when they double down on our big men is important. Nix did what a good player should do and was unselfish.

On the performance of Denzel Valentine and how tight his leash is...
Denzel is a great player and he can really pass the ball, but there is a lot expected of him. If he was a normal freshman and wasn't starting, the leash would be less. There has to be more expected of him the more he is given. That's just the way it is. Nobody should take that in a bad way, but you can't make the turnovers he made today and win big games. I thought he did that early in the year and disciplined himself. He's trying to find his way and I understand that. You can still play if you don't turn the ball over and guard somebody. His defense in the second half was ten times better than the first. He's got the ability, we just have to keep digging down and playing more passionately.

On the defensive performance...
It was all on those ball screens. We did a poor job against Miami and we did a poor job here, and some of that is on our big men. Nix did a decent job, but Dawson didn't do a great job and we will make some adjustments on that. A lot of times they had five guys out there that could shoot three's and that's one of the problems when you play teams that aren't as big. I didn't think our defense was as good as it looked statistically, but I thought it was better than what the stats showed against Kansas, so maybe this is an even out game.

On the potential of Gary Harris...
I don't know if he realizes it yet, because he is a very unselfish kid. He took the brace off today which I'm not sure if I like. I might be fist-fighting the doctor tonight, but I think it is more mental than it is physical. Other than that first game when he was 1-7 from the three point line, he has shot about 40%, and he works hard at it. He has a chance to be a great player and tonight I thought he started getting his feet ready. People are starting to get a feel for one another.

Loyola-Chicago head coach Porter Moser

Opening statements...
What a classy organization and program Michigan State is. I want to personally thank them for honoring with a moment of silence, my mentor Coach (Rick) Majerus. I want to thank Michigan State for doing that, just class all over the place. In terms of this game, for our program, we have to take experience from this game. Experience that you can't just be happy to be close, that we can compete at this level. Loyola has tradition. We have a national championship banner; I know it was 50-years ago, but we haven't had culture and Michigan State has culture. They have culture of how hard you play, how hard you compete, and you expect to win for 40 minutes. You see everything is about culture and that's what I'm trying to establish here. I was proud that we got down 10 in the first half and there was no panic in the huddles; the guys kept on grinding. The experience we have to take from it is, in the second half, there was little uneasiness and we were a little-step slow getting to (Gary) Harris. We were a step slow, we were a little shaky with the ball and we haven't been shaky. We have to take away from experience that, to compete for 40 minutes, as the game gets closer to the end, you've got to be doing the same things you were taught, same things you've been doing all game. I think we took a step in the right direction culture-wise but happy with the effort, disappointed with the outcome.

On Michigan State's scouting report...
I think they all know that they can shoot it and they're spotting up, their spacing is phenomenal. The scouting report, one, was take away transition baskets. They do such a good job on makes and misses throwing it up the court. They play the way I hope to play, they play a controlled up-tempo. They absolutely try to throw it down your throat on makes and misses. If they don't have it, they're disciplined, they pull out and they run their offense. We didn't feel we could guard their big guys inside one-on-one so we were digging down, trying to trap and getting them to kick out to the shooters. I thought in the first half we were better at scrambling out of it. In the second half, every time we were slow scrambling, they did a great job of finding the shooters, especially (Gary) Harris. Part of culture is, I've got guys wanting to be in the game, but they've got to have the mentality, not on my shift. Some of them started pacing themselves a little defensively. You've got to go as hard as you can. If you need a sub, then do it at a dead ball and you've got to be willing to be a great teammate and say, `I need to come out for a second.' I thought we had a couple possessions where we were just slow getting to the shooters and they cut you up when you make a mistake.

On Keith Appling...
He's really good. I mean, he's really good. I watched the game tape from last year in the NCAA tournament and I know St. Louis was backing way off of him. There's no way this year; he's improved so much with his shot. He's just really good. I mean, he'd come off dribbling but he changes everything for them, that when he's got that ball in his hand, he just gives a level of confidence to everybody out there. He's got energy. He's got quickness. He's got heart. I really like him. I think he's a really good player and he's playing really hard. All of them shoot the ball better and they do so many other things great. This team's got the chance to make the deep, obviously with Coach Izzo.

On the meaning of this day for Loyola...
There's so many things tied into this. We've begun to learn to educate our own players. Our players have watched the tape of the `Game of Change'. They know that game was snuck out and played in East Lansing and it's part of history. The thing that team had was they had great culture. We had that team come back and talk to our guys. There's 16 academic degrees from that team. They did it the right way, they persevered and there are a lot of little things that have gone into this 50th anniversary season. One was playing here in East Lansing. Last week, we played Tennessee Tech; that was the first round of the NCAA tournament that year that they played. Next week, we play Mississippi State. It's all about tradition. I want the tradition to live on, to remember the tradition but we have to get the culture back. We've lost culture; we haven't lost tradition. We still have a lot of those guys; the banner hangs and those guys are part of the program. We have to get the culture back at Loyola. It means a lot to us that we can constantly talk to them, coming back to East Lansing where that game was played. Next week's game, against Mississippi State, against the actual opponent, to understand social justice of what went on, what those guys did to persevere at a very tough social climate. I think when you educate young people, it's such a key thing. You can't miss this at Loyola. It's a great chance to educate student-athletes.

On Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix...
Well it's funny, I had one of my assistants say, `We've got to do block-out drills.' The only thing I could think of was my mentor, Coach Majerus. In the four years I was with him, not one time did we ever do a block-out drill, not once. If anyone talked about one of Majerus' teams, that's one of the best block-out teams there is. Every play in practice should be a block-out drill and that's what we did. We really had to emphasize this. With those two guys, they have a tremendous size advantage. We got a couple fouls for going into the guy's legs and I said, `Hey, I'll take those fouls.' We have to check off against a team that big. You know, (Adreian) Payne can really knock down that 15-footer and (Derrick) Nix can pass out of the post. He doesn't get sped up in the post. I thought they did a good adjustment the second half. That's why he is who he is. In the first half, they were catching it; he would turn and look and they'd cut, we would trap it. In the second half, right when they threw it in, he was making a quick move before the double-team could come. That was a great adjustment on their part. He scored; I think he got fouled once but then he scored another basket. Then we had to adjust again, because he can pass, and he can score down there and (Adreian) Payne can hit that shot. There's a lot to talk about with a game with those two.


 

 

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