Michigan State 80, Indiana 65
 
 
 

 

 
 

Dec. 28, 2011

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Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

Opening Statement...
Well, that was a heck of a start, I guess. I felt like for us, we played awfully well early. In fact, when we had that 34-16 lead, I thought we were playing well on the offensive end, the defensive end, we shot it well, and we rebounded pretty well. Our defense was really good, and then we kind of lost focus. A couple of my freshman went a little brain dead when (Matt) Roth came in. I give Indiana credit. They made some big shots. They bounced back and came back. Then, they went on a 36-11 or something run. The second half, we just weren't really good. We looked like we were out of gas. Draymond (Green) was struggling a little bit, and then (Keith Appling) got it going a little bit. Then we got something out of (Derrick) Nix. Branden Dawson was really good early, and then he struggled a little bit, but he had more energy. I was pleased with him. I give them credit on the road, they bounced back. I'd say our crowd was worth a lot of points tonight. Draymond said it best to the freshman. The problem is when you let a team come back like that and you're on the road, you're not going to win that game. That's a great tribute, especially to our community and all of the people that flew in from all over the country for this reunion game. So, I was pleased by that. I was really happy for Nix. He stayed up here for Christmas. He only went home for one day to make sure he didn't gain any weight. That was his decision and it paid off for him.

On the ups and downs, back and forth leads during the game and how the team bounced back ...
I'm not sure either one of us are pleased about that. You can't do that on either side, my team or him team. You can't have that big of runs. That was not good. I was not pleased with that to be honest with you at all, and I'm sure he wasn't either. The other side of it is that you need to come back when your top reserves are down. They were down and out and boy they came back like gangbusters. We were down and out and came back and I think that made a big difference. (Matt) Roth hurt us last year and he hurt us this year. He came in and we just didn't guard him. We made that a point of emphasis. I give (Verdell) Jones credit. I guess he was playing on a bad ankle. Boy he played hard and a lot of respect for him.

On finding the motivation to turn the game back around following Indiana's run...
That's what I told Day Day (Draymond Green) in the timeout. I said, `Hey, you're not playing as well.' He was a little frustrated, but where's he's grown up so much, so much, is I've learned how to deal with him, and he's learned to understand what I'm looking for. About three times he gave me a `you're right'. He was frustrated with himself, but he got in those huddles and he brought them back. What he didn't do with his own play, he did with his voice. There are always things that happen. He was tired and I thought our whole team looked tired. I said we have a very young perimeter experience team. Because of that, I didn't think we handled those runs very well. It will give us something to work on and talk about in the next couple of days.

On where this team could go if Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne are playing on a certain level...
As I said to my guys, I didn't feel we played great. I thought we had room for improvement. I thought we had stretches where we did, but good teams don't do that. They have to have a lot more consistent. I felt the same with his team at times. They really looked sluggish, they really looked great. Maybe that's the way it is when two good teams are playing each other. I don't think there's any question that I feel comfortable in saying those are two damn good teams tonight that did a lot of great things. Indiana's come a long way. His ceiling I think is still high. I do still think our ceiling is high as (Branden) Dawson gets better, as (Brandon) Wood keeps getting better. Payne and Nix- we're getting more out of them. I think both teams have an upside still.

Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean

Opening Statement...
First of all for us it was a lot of tough lessons inside a very tough atmosphere against a very good team. We have to go home and make corrections, I covered some of the corrections we have to make in the locker room after the game. This optimizes a game of runs, we haven't been on many this year where we were on the bottom end of a run like we were. We got to a point where we were scoring pretty frequently we were getting great looks and all of a sudden some of those looks went away because heir confidence went up because our defense wasn't as good. Our recipe for winning didn't come out inside of the game, we were down in free throw attempts, we had more turnovers, we didn't score nearly as many points off turnovers as they did, it was a very physical game. At times we were very physical with it, other times we weren't as physical. Not getting to the foul lime is a big problem for us, not getting enough drives to the hoop. Cody (Zeller) saw what this game is like inside of this league, when you go against some of the physical 5-men that are in a league like this. He'll make adjustments, he made some in the second half, we made some but it just didn't turn out to be a great game for him. But he is a quick learner so I have no doubt that he will continue to get better. I'm proud of a lot of our efforts I'm proud of Verdell Jones, he thought he was going to play, but I wasn't certain until today, but I was proud of his efforts. We missed Will Sheehey, we missed his athleticism, we missed his speed. We didn't have much outside other than what Matt Roth did and I thought (Tom) Pritchard did some good things. We did not play as well off the bench tonight. We got to get better there, but again it's just an absolute learning process, this league is, this time of year is. Our guys are learning all year long inside the games, and I have no reason to believe they won't continue learn. We'll make the corrections, we'll get better.

On Cody Zeller's learning experience...
They were very physical. He's not used to dealing with people that have that kind of size. The physical strength and weight they have at Michigan State, they're a very physical team. There are things he can continue to do to get better with that and they did a good job at 3-corning him in the post. We didn't do as good a job at creating angles to get the ball into the post. He might not have held his seal as long as he could have in certain areas. I'd like to see if he could be more aggressive when he gets the ball, I think that he will. I thought he did a lot of good things, he created a lot of attention, there's no question about that. That opened it up for some other people. That's part of having a really good big player as well, one that not only scores but one that; I'm not sure where he fit in on the scouting report, but I'm pretty sure he's on the first page, I think when you have that it opens things up for other people. He'll learn from it.

On shot-selection and Michigan State's defense during the 20-0 run...
Well they weren't as good as the shots we had during our 25-2 run. We didn't have as much penetration, we weren't creating. There's some technique things we could have done better, we tired to correct them in the game, it just wasn't meant to be. I'll have to watch the film to really asses it better. We got a little jumpy with the shot clock, we subbed and we had a couple guys who weren't as assertive as they needed to be when they were in the game and at this level it's a great lesson to get. I think they learned it in the Kentucky game, I think they learned it for most of the Butler game, I definitely know they learned it in the N.C. State game. It's truly possession by possession when you get into games like this; we had too many empty possessions. I wasn't as concerned about the shots compared to when we didn't get a shot at all because we didn't screen, because we broke a play. It was a very good atmosphere, very tough atmosphere. I fully expect for nine games and certainly when Michigan State comes to Bloomington, Indiana our fans will provided the same tough atmosphere for them that we felt tonight. It was good my hats off to them, but my hats usually off to our crowd too so I'll be looking forward to that.

On Michigan State's youth...
I watch them like I watch anybody else. I don't have a great understanding of what they talk about and things like that. They did some good things but we made some defensive mistakes. We have a lot of youth on our team too. There's experience, and there's youth, and the combination of two really comes down to how your leadership is and how your older guys lead your younger guys. Without knowing him I would assume Draymond Green does a good job of that. The guy that plays like he's a serious veteran is Keith Appling, he played like that tonight, he's been doing that. I think he's a product of getting all those opportunities, and minutes, and starts from last year. He played like an elite level guard.