MSU Spartans
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Men's Basketball
Michigan State 67, Texas 56
 
 
 

 

 
 

Dec. 22, 2012

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement...
That's one dang good basketball team. I think people got enamored with the fact that they got beat by Chaminade and USC. I watched them on film and against Carolina, and they are good. I thought we played pretty well, but not great. Our inside guys were unbelievable. Payne, Nix and even Dawson played pretty well at times. Of course Nix was the hero but the real hero might be Mike Garland because he spends so much time with Nix and Dawson at the free throw line and those guys were 15 for 18 today, which was a big difference in the game. My hockey number one star goes out to Mike Garland to be honest. You have to give (Julian) Lewis credit, I thought we checked him as well as we could and he just made shots and made plays. If they had (Myck) Kabongo ... they're good without him. I must say that I was disappointed with the ruling on that when I looked at the whole situation. I felt bad for Rick because he had to come here last night with that on his mind. I don't know everything about it but what I do know, it seems pretty bizarre to me. After watching that kid Wednesday night on TV cheering like Mateen Cleaves used to, I think he's a heck of a kid. Texas is good, they're going to be good and so are the Spartans. I think we took another step in the right direction, got more inside play. Valentine didn't even play because of foul trouble and Appling, even though his stats are decent, I've never seen him miss that many free throws. Gary Harris had some of the best looks he's had all year and just didn't hit any shots. When you can do that, play that many guys and still be somewhat efficient. One of the big keys for us were turnovers and even though we turned it over 16 times, at least three of those were a goal-tending, a charge and Payne gets that rebound and is undercut by Trice. I think we had 10 steals and they had only three. We didn't have any turnovers for touchdowns and that made a difference. We out-rebounded them by a few, even though we had an awfully small lineup out there at times, especially when Valentine got in foul trouble. Winning the battle of the boards against a team with that size was big. We had a couple of big, big plays down the stretch, especially from Nix with the pass out to Appling and the job he did at the line made the difference.

On playing Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix together...
We moved Dawson to the 3 a little bit but I don't think we played that many bigs together because we had Payne in foul trouble the whole first half, he hardly played any minutes. He ended up playing 19 and Nix played 32, that's a lot for Nix. I don't plan on him playing that many minutes. Dawson played the 4 and 3 which was what I figured. I've been really happy with Costello and Gauna, I could have gotten them even more minutes, and they didn't get a lot of them. They're going to start getting more. This week we had a practice and a couple of two-a-days that really benefited this team. We screened better, we got it into the post better. We guarded pretty well and they shot 38 percent but they made some tough shots. I don't know how we're going to play when we get into the Big Ten. I guess that depends on who we play but as always, we have the versatility to do both, we can play smaller and we can play bigger. We have to keep Valentine out of foul trouble and we have to keep Harris making some of those three's that he was making, he made all of them at the beginning of the year. He'll bounce back; I have no worries about that.

On the play of Derrick Nix...
Nix and I have a love/hate relationship. I love to hate him sometimes. I think like every relationship it has grown into one where he listens more every day. He still struggles at times and gets frustrated with himself sometimes. The hardest thing for anybody to do is to take criticism. He has grown up enormously in the last two years, trust me. This year, those tantrums that used to happen on a regular basis, come very seldom now. He was locked in tonight. He moved his feet on defense. They hurt us on those curl moves, I thought they were pushing off and turning in. It was a physical game both ways and Nix was the only guy that stepped up and did the things that he was supposed to do. He won the game for us and we went to him. It was a great deal and I think he'll understand more when you have a great game; sooner or later you are going to have some success. Just like I said with Mike Garland, the number of days he is out there shooting free throws with Dawson has been enormous and when it pays off I think that's good because if you don't get the reward, it's hard to keep going.

On the fight Nix brought to the game...
Sometimes he is not playing hard enough but tonight he brought it all night long and wanted the ball, they wanted to get it to him and we ran a lot of plays to get it to him. The technical, I thought it was for grabbing him but I guess he said something to the official on the block. He was wrong for that and got a deserving technical. I'm sure it was a frustrating game for Rick, myself and probably for the three officials. It was a physical war and there were bodies everywhere. That's the way it is going to be in our league so we might as well get used to it.

Texas head coach Rick Barnes

On the technical foul being a turning point in the game...
Well I don't know if that was just one point, it was a big swing. There were a lot of opportunities up until the last four minutes where we were in the position to win a game. Offensive spacing wasn't good. Javan (Felix) wasn't getting the ball in the area on the floor where we could get into some of the action we wanted to. We got to have a bigger effort by our bigger post players. Inside they went to work in there. We got to do a better job from the free throw line. They got a high percentage shots in there, they really did. We can't be that easy to score inside against. A couple of our post guys got driven by, which can happen. Too many turnovers and I told Javan, I said we had 18 turnovers and charged him with four, but you were probably responsible for ten of them because of the passing. You threw guys where they couldn't do anything with it. We wanted to get him out wide, because they do such a great job at defending the elbows. We got some things we wanted; we just weren't quite good enough.

On Derrick Nix scoring 25 points...
I'm sure he'd like to see us every night. I would imagine that has got to be close to his career high. We always talk about space and you have to know where your space is on the floor. Obviously he knew where he wanted the ball and he got it there. We didn't fight him hard enough to keep him from that space. I actually told our post players, I told Cam Ridley I said you need to do what he does. If you do that for us, we'll be pretty darn good. You have to give him credit and Tom again kept going to him. We didn't have an answer for it. Prince Ibeh did a good job. He came in and he stays down. I'll be honest, Nix isn't going to get a shot over him. He can try it all night long, but if Prince would just stay down all the time. I would say Tom got what they wanted out of him.

On coaching a young team...
To be honest with you we don't talk about being young, we've never brought it up. Up to this point everybody knows about Myck's situation. A guy no one ever talks about is Jaylen Bond. He is our leading rebounding. We're going to be a different team here in another two weeks. We probably could have used him against North Carolina. We maybe could have used him a little bit today. He's too valuable to push him out there too soon. He's going to make a big difference for us, because of his toughness. With a young group, I don't think that young guys understand what toughness means. We've tried to teach them that toughness is doing your job. You're supposed to screen, you're supposed to make a tight curl and make it. We're not going to let youth be a part of it. I just told Myck to go through our schedule right now and we had given away at least three games. I could say to you I think it's toughness and execution.

On answering Michigan State's big runs...
One thing we try to keep is consecutive stops. I think the first half we had four different times where we had three or more stops. Start of the second half, I'm not sure we ever strung together three really consecutive stops. Certain guys on the floor were not scoring or executing. We tried to get the best offensive players out there to answer them. When we do that, sometimes we lose a little bit on the defensive end. We have to continue, as coaches, to get these guys better individually. We thought the zone was effective. It was more effective with Cam or Prince. Using from that, we can get out and run. We didn't run today at all like we wanted to run. Like the other night against North Carolina, we ran. We ran with a purpose. Tonight we didn't run that way and we need to. I don't want to be a team that is going to just come down and settle. We don't have to be that way. We got some speed and some quickness. When teams are scoring, we had some chances and some looks at it. We want guys to shoot it, there were a couple chances where we got fouled and didn't get anything from the free throw line.

 

 

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