Jan. 5, 2013
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo
Give Matt [Painter] a lot of credit, that team plays so hard it was scary. Even though I'm excited about the win, I think we beat a good team, but we're still not playing like we need to play if we're going to make any type of noise in this conference. And I singled out three guys. [Derrick] Nix has to make some of those shots inside. We kept going to him because I have blind faith in him I guess, and he did come through a little bit down the stretch, still hitting his free throws, but I thought we got him the ball a decent amount. The second guy I said was [Denzel] Valentine, he has to quit turning the ball over. He makes some great plays, though. He made some big-time plays one way and then some foolish turnovers the other, and started out the game with one there. And the third one is Branden Dawson, he has to play with more energy. I thought the first half he didn't and I thought the second half he played with as much as I've seen him play with in over a year, and it was a big difference in the game. He's head and shoulders above everybody on a lot of those rebounds, he gets 11 boards, he missed a couple of put backs dead or he would have had 20 and 11, and that was a big difference if those guys could get a little more consistent.
On the other side of it, I asked [Gary] Harris to be more aggressive and I thought he played a heck of a game, and I thought Travis Trice did an unbelievable job, and as crazy as it sounds being 2- 6 [from the field], Keith Appling ran our team pretty good, he had eight assists, he had one turnover, he was getting pressure and he made proper decisions. I was really pleased with the way Keith played.
We've got some things to feel good on, that you can see if we put it together. I thought we made some great shots. I thought we made tougher shots than we missed easy shots. But Purdue is a very well-coached tough physical team.
On Branden Dawson playing better in the 2nd Half after coming off his knee injury last season...
The injury has bothered the kid. He just hasn't come back. Would you say tentative, could have dunked some, could have got up? The second half, I think he just decided to let it go, and I don't think it's physically hindering him, but like a lot of people tell me, there's a mental hindrance to serious injuries like that, and I think B.J. played at a different energy level the second half. I don't think he played necessarily that much better, I just think he was always around the ball because he played at a different energy level. I was really pleased with him and told him before the game and I told him after the game that that's the way he's got to play. But it's hard to push a guy when you don't know how much is injury, and how much is laziness or inept, and that's a very delicate area right now for me.
He needed to have a good game. Now we'll see if he can maintain that kind of energy that he had in the second half because it was a big difference in the game.
On Gary Harris playing well in today's game...
He's such a good kid. He tries to understand what he has to do within the offense, and I think he'll find his niche. But definitely today, when you go 6-8 from the three, that makes a big difference in our team.