Dec. 21, 2005
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Three Michigan State players scored at least 25 points Wednesday night in a 98-69 victory over Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo was more concerned about his 10th-ranked team's defense.
"We're a very good offensive team," Izzo said. "And that'll get us about fourth place in our league."
But with the Big Ten season looming, Izzo continues to harp on defense.
"If we can execute defensively as well as we do offensively, we have a chance to be a really good team," Izzo said.
The Spartans' starters played deep into a second-half blowout. Izzo said his players looked "tired" and said the team could use its upcoming holiday break.
Last month, the Spartans lost twice in the space of four days, at unranked Hawaii and to then-No. 8 Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational.
"It's been a long 10-2 already," Izzo said.
The Phoenix (4-7) traded the lead with the Spartans in a close first half and were down 44-35 at halftime. But the Spartans used their strong transition game to pull away in the second half.
Ager said he and Brown work well with each other in transition.
"We always know where each other are at," Ager said. "I like to run, and he looks for me. We always talk to each other."
Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Tod Kowalczyk acknowledged that Michigan State's transition game "got away from us a little bit."
Junior guard Ryan Evanochko, Wisconsin-Green Bay's leading scorer, had 18 points. But it seemed like every time Evanochko scored, the Spartans answered with a fast break.
Evanochko's jumper brought the Phoenix within 52-42 early in the second half, but Spartans senior forward Matt Trannon answered with a fast break dunk.
Evanochko scored again two possessions later -- but Trannon again answered with a fast break basket, making the score 58-44.
Izzo said he's counting on that kind of energy from Trannon, a tight end for Michigan State's football team, all the time.
"He's got to be going 100 miles an hour all the time," Izzo said.
A breakaway layup by Ager put the Spartans up 75-56 with 8:48 remaining, and the Spartans kept running with their starters late into the game.
"When we get out and run, we've got the athletes to do it," Davis said. "We just have to do it all 40 minutes."
Kowalczyk praised Izzo for bringing his high-profile team to Green Bay. But he was disappointed Resch Center wasn't full.
Wednesday night's game drew 9,108 -- the second-largest crowd ever in the 3-year-old arena, but short of a sellout.
"I was surprised it didn't sell out in September," Kowalczyk said.
But, he said, "it's part of growing your program and building your program."
Izzo didn't seem to mind the trip. He grew up in Iron Mountain, Mich., less than 100 miles from Green Bay. As a child, his family took him shopping in Green Bay.
"We came here to get our school clothes," Izzo said.
Earlier Wednesday, he took his team on a tour of Lambeau Field.
"I think Davis did the 'Lambeau Leap,' even," Izzo said.