Feb. 8, 2013
THE OPENING TIP
The Last Meeting
January 5, 2013
East Lansing, Mich.
No. 18 Spartans Run Past Purdue, 84-61
Freshman Gary Harris scored a season-high 22 points, and No. 18 Michigan State used a 28-7 run in the second half to pull away for an 84-61 victory over Purdue on Saturday.
Michigan State returns to the road, traveling to West Lafayette to face Purdue. Ten games into the Big Ten schedule, the Spartans find themselves as part of a three-way tie for first place, with two more teams just a game back. MSU is 3-2 on the road in Big Ten games, winning three of its last four. After opening the conference season at 1-2, the Boilermakers have bounced back to win four of their next seven Big Ten games, and five of eight contests overall.
THE STARTING FIVE (AND A SIXTH MAN)
1. Spartans From The Hoosier State
Three players on the MSU roster are from the Hoosier state. Red-shirt sophomore Russell Byrd earned 2010 second-team all-state honors becoming the first ever Indiana All-Star from Blackhawk Christian High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. Sophomore Branden Dawson was an all-state selection and 2011 McDonald's All-American from Gary's Lew Wallace High School. Freshman Gary Harris was the 2012 Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Basketball winner and the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year. A 2012 McDonald's All-American, Harris averaged 25.4 points in leading Hamilton Southeastern High School to the Class 4A sectional final. Harris' mother, Joy (Holmes), was a four-year letterwinner at Purdue from 1988-91, and was a 1991 first-team Kodak/WBCA All-American.
2. Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne ranks sixth in Michigan State history with 95 career blocks. Ken Johnson ranks fifth with 96, while Matt Steigenga ranks fourth with 97. Earlier this season, Payne equaled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.
3. Harris Ranks Among Best MSU Freshmen Ever
Gary Harris is on his way to turning in one of the best freshman campaigns in Michigan State history. His 12.9 ppg overall scoring average ranks third in school history behind just Earvin Johnson (17.0) and Shawn Respert (15.8). With 41 made three-pointers he also ranks third, trailing Chris Hill (66) and Shawn Respert (60). As the season progresses, look for Harris to move into the top five in other MSU freshman records.
4. Strong Second Halves
In its last two games, Michigan State has been sluggish out of the gates, averaging 22.5 points on .333 shooting. The Spartans, however, have responded with very strong second halves, averaging 48.0 points on .757 shooting. MSU is also averaging 24.0 free throw attempts in the second half, compared to 3.0 in the first half.
5. Improved 3-Point Shooting
Since the start of Big Ten play, Michigan State has been shooting better from 3-point range. Over the last 10 games, the Spartans are shooting .417 (60-of-144) from behind the arc, ranking third in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Adreian Payne (.700; 7-of-10), Gary Harris (.510; 26-of-51) and Travis Trice (.385; 10-of-26) in conference action. Keith Appling has also been on target lately, hitting 9-of-18 in the last four games.
6. Great Starts
Michigan State's 19-4 start is among the best starts of the Tom Izzo era. Only the 2000-01 and 2007-08 squads had better 23-game records at 20-3. The 1998-99, 2004-05, 2008-09, and 2009-10 teams also started 19-4. In fact, the 1994-95, 1977-78, and 1958-59 squads are the only other MSU teams to open at 19-4.
MSU VS. PURDUE NOTES
Purdue leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 65-49, including a 40-16 advantage in games played in West Lafayette. MSU has won 20 of the last 30 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 20-13 in his career against Purdue.
Matt Painter (Purdue, `94) is 197-93 in his ninth season as a collegiate head coach, including 172-88 in his eighth season at Purdue. After one year as head coach at Southern Illinois, he served as associate head coach at Purdue in 2004-05 in Gene Keady's final year as Boilermaker coach.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Purdue, 84-61, on Jan. 5, 2013, in East Lansing. It was a close contest for much of the game, with the Spartans holding a slim 43-41 lead with 13:48 left in the contest. MSU then went on a 25-5 run over the next 7:18, pushing its lead out to a comfortable 68-46 margin. A pair of freshmen led the respective teams in scoring as Gary Harris led all scorers, and five Spartans in double figures, with a season-high 22 points, including hitting 6-of-8 3-pointers, while A.J. Hammons led Purdue with 20 points. The Spartans shot .533 (8-of-15) from 3-point range, compared to just .286 (4-of-14) for the Boilermakers.
The Last Meeting In West Lafayette
Michigan State defeated Purdue 76-62 on Feb. 19, 2012, in West Lafayette, Ind. MSU led by six points late in the first half, but the Boilermakers were strong in the closing minutes and took a 38-35 lead into the halftime locker room. The Spartans stormed out of the break with a 10-0 run. Purdue answered with five straight points, but eight straight points from Draymond Green gave Michigan State a 53-43 lead with 10:42 remaining. After that, MSU's lead never dropped below eight points. Green turned in a dominating 20-point, 10-rebound, 7-assist performance, while Branden Dawson recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Austin Thornton scored a then-career high with 17 points. MSU shot 56.0 percent in the second half, while holding Purdue to 22.9 percent, as the Boilermakers missed 22 of their first 23 shots in the stanza. Robbie Hummel was strong for Purdue, recording 24 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.
Purdue ranks second in the Big Ten in blocked shots (5.0 bpg) ... The Boilermakers average 14.3 offensive rebounds per game, grabbing 37.8 percent of their missed shots on the offensive glass ... In conference games, A.J. Hammons trails only Gary Harris in scoring among Big Ten freshmen, averaging 13.4 ppg ... Hammons also leads the Big Ten in blocked shots, averaging 2.1 overall and 2.9 in conference action.
GM. 23 RECAP MICHIGAN STATE 61 - MINNESOTA 50
Michigan State defeated Minnesota, 61-50, on Feb. 6 in East Lansing. The Spartans took a 13-6 lead at the 10:06 mark, but then did not score again for the next 6:42. Minnesota's Joe Coleman hit a 3-pointer from the corner right before the buzzer to give the Golden Gophers a 20-18 halftime advantage. Minnesota extended its lead out to five points at 25-20 just over two minutes into the second half. MSU responded with a 21-4 run over the next 7:56, hitting five 3-pointers during the spurt. Minnesota made one final push, narrowing MSU's lead to 49-45 with 2:49 remaining, but MSU would score the game's next seven points to secure the win.
MSU VS. MINNESOTA NOTES
* Nine of MSU's 20 field goals (45.0 percent) were 3-pointers, marking the highest percentage of the season.
* Tom Izzo called Gary Harris' 15-point, 4-assist, 4-of-8 from 3-point range performance while playing with back spasms, "one of the guttier performances in my career."
* MSU committed just five turnovers for the game, including none in the first half, marking its lowest total since committing five in a win at Minnesota last season (2/22).
* MSU held a 19-4 edge in points off turnovers.
* Minnesota out-rebounded MSU for the second time on the season (38-28), marking the only two games in which MSU has been out-rebounded this year.
* Adreian Payne missed 5:38 of the contest midway through the second half while having a severly bloody nose attended to in the training room. He scored all 11 of his points in the game's final 5:13 after returning.
* Travis Trice missed the contest due to concussion-like symptoms.
MSU BASKETBALL NOTES
Harris Paces Big Ten Freshmen
In Big Ten games, Gary Harris leads conference freshmen in scoring, averaging a team-best 13.5 points per contest. Harris also paces Big Ten freshmen in 3-point percentage in conference games at .510 (26-of-51), ranking third among all players, and 3-point field goals made (2.6), ranking tied for first among all players. He also leads conference freshmen in overall scoring at 12.9 ppg.
Limiting Turnovers In Conference Play
One area of concern for Michigan State is the number of turnovers, as the Spartans are averaging 13.9 per game, including five games with 19 or more. In Big Ten play, however, MSU has done a much better job, averaging 11.7 per conference game. MSU has recorded 14 or fewer turnovers in eight of 10 Big Ten games, winning all eight.
Spartans In Tough Stretch
Michigan State is in the early stages of a tough stretch of games. Beginning with the home game vs. Ohio State, Michigan State will play seven games against opponents currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (Feb. 4) in a span of 11 games, and nine in the top 31 in the next 12 contests. The Purdue game is the sixth in a string of 12 games that will see the Spartans play 10 games against teams that currently own a .500 or better conference record.
There's An App For That
Keith Appling leads the Spartans in scoring (14.0 ppg - 10th Big Ten) and assists (4.2 apg - 5th Big Ten), having led MSU in scoring in 12 games, and scoring 20 or more points four times, all coming in Spartan wins. He's also shown a knack to elevate his play in the final minutes of games. In addition, he's establishing himself as one of the premier defenders in the nation. His play has not gone unnoticed by his head coach, as Tom Izzo remarked "I'm not an easy guy to please. But I'm really excited for him and proud of him for what he's doing right now in an incredible way." He was named captain on Jan. 20. Following his 24-point, 8-rebound, 7-assist game against Illinois, he was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 4.
Winning the Close Ones
In the Big Ten, where the margin between winning and losing can be so slim, it's important to come through in late game situations. That's been a strength for a Spartan team that is 7-2 in games decided by five points or less, including 3-1 in conference games. In the last three minutes of conference games, MSU is shooting .500 (17-34) from the field, and .774 (41-53) from the foul line, averaging just 0.7 turnovers per game (seven in 10 games).
It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State has led the nation in rebounding in four of the last 13 seasons (2000, 2001, 2009, 2010), ranking in the Top 10 eight times and the Top 25 on 11 occasions. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding in 12 of the last 15 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 465 of 604 opponents (.770), posting a 370-95 (.796) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 20 of 23 opponents this season, having been out-rebounded just twice (Minnesota both times). They rank 3rd in the Big Ten and 18th in the nation with a +6.7 rebounding margin.
Payne's Improved Play
Over the last eight games, Adreian Payne is averaging 12.1 points, shooting 35-of-54 (.648) from the field, including 7-of-10 from 3-point range. A look at the Big Ten stats shows that Payne is one of the premier big men in the Big Ten, ranking fourth in the conference in rebounding (6.9 rpg), third in field-goal percentage (.597) and eighth in blocks (1.2 bpg). He also ranks fourth on the Spartans in scoring at 9.4 points per contest. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just 14 games. He's recorded three double-doubles this season, each one of them in 22 minutes or less. However, he is averaging 32.6 minutes over the last five games, recording four of the five 30-minute games of his career.
Given the fact that Branden Dawson had ACL surgery just last March (two days after suffering the injury in the regular-season finale vs. Ohio State), it's remarkable that he has not missed even a single practice this season. Over the last nine games, he seems to have elevated his play to another level, averaging 11.8 points and 8.3 rebounds, including career highs in both scoring (18 points) and rebounding (13 rebounds) at Wisconsin. On the season, he ranks third on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg), second in rebounding (6.6 rpg), and third in minutes played (27.3 mpg).
Appling On Cousy List
On Feb. 7, Keith Appling made the cut to one of 12 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, honoring the nation's top point guard. Appling is one of three Big Ten point guards on the list as he is joined by Michigan's Trey Burke and Ohio State's Aaron Craft. In conference games, Appling ranks tied for third in the Big Ten in assists (4.3 apg), third in steals (1.9 spg), and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0). Overall, he ranks fifth in assists (4.2 apg) and sixth in steals (1.6 spg).
With one more victory, Michigan State will record its 13th 20-win season in the last 16 years, all under head coach Tom Izzo. Of the previous 20 20-win seasons in Spartan history, Izzo has been involved in 17 of them, 12 as a head coach and five as an assistant.
Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded a team-best 42 steals (1.8 spg), ranking fourth in the Big Ten, and 23 blocks (1.0 bpg), ranking second on the team and tied for 12th in the Big Ten. He is the only player 6-foot-6 or taller to rank in the Top 15 in steals, and the only one 6-foot-6 or shorter in the Top 15 in blocks. As a freshman, Dawson collected 29 steals in 31 games. Keith Appling ranks second on the team and sixth in the Big Ten with 37 steals (1.6 spg), while Adreian Payne leads the team and ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 28 blocks (1.2 bpg).
In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +10.6 points (34.1-23.9), out-scoring 18 of its 23 opponents. At times, MSU has dominated the paint, including out-scoring Texas Southern (46-10), Oakland (40-16), Miami (30-14), Nicholls State (52-20), Tuskegee (42-26), Bowling Green (42-24), Texas (30-16), and Ohio State (34-14).
Big Ten Win No. 200
Tom Izzo recorded his 200th Big Ten victory with MSU's 81-72 win at Penn State. He joins Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) as the only coaches in a power six conference with 200 conference wins at their current school. Mike Montgomery (California) has more than 200 Pac 12 wins, but a majority of those came in a previous stint with Stanford. With 204 Big Ten wins, Izzo trails Bob Knight (353), Gene Keady (265), Ward Lambert (228), Lou Henson (214), and Branch McCracken (210).
Big Ten Success
Michigan State has won 13 Big Ten Championships, including three of the last four, since joining the league prior to the 1950-51 season. The Spartans' first ever league game was at Northwestern, where MSU claimed a 67-62 victory on Jan. 6, 1951. All-time, MSU is 562-452 (.554) in league play, including 204-92 (.689) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 204 conference wins. Izzo has guided MSU to seven of its 13 league crowns. Since Izzo's first season (1995-96), MSU has a Big Ten-best record of 204-92, 17 games better than second-place Wisconsin (187-109).
MSU's Center Tandem
Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne combine to give Michigan State a steady inside presence. Although they often will take the floor together, at least one of them is usually in the game. Combined, they average 18.2 ppg and 13.3 rpg. Both of them are also shooting over 51 percent from the field.
Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris ranks second on the team and leads Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 12.9 points per contest. If you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.6 ppg. He opened his Spartan career by becoming just the third freshman in MSU history to score in double figures in each of his first three games. He suffered a shoulder sprain in the first defensive possession of the fourth game of the season against Boise State, and missed the two games following that one. He is a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, earning the honor on Nov. 19 and Dec. 10. He's averaging a team-best 13.5 ppg in Big Ten play, leading conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (41) and attempted (98), and has made 51.0 percent (26-of-51) of his shots from behind the arc in conference action.
Playing The Best
Since the 1997-98 season, the year of Michigan State's first of 15 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 168 games against ranked opponents. That total ranks first among teams that have appeared in a Final Four since then. The Spartans are followed by North Carolina (154), Kentucky (149), Duke (147) and Connecticut (140). (Through Feb. 8)
Another Izzo Milestone
Tom Izzo became the third-winningest coach in Big Ten history with Michigan State's win vs. Purdue on Jan. 5. The victory was win No. 424, passing Lou Henson (423 wins; 1975-96). Izzo (431 wins) now trails just Bob Knight (662; 1971-2000) and Gene Keady (512; 1980-2005).
Four different Spartans have posted a double-double this season. Adreian Payne (Nicholls State, Loyola, Tuskegee) and Branden Dawson (Connecticut, Purdue, Wisconsin) lead the way with three. Derrick Nix (Tuskegee and Texas) has two, while Denzel Valentine (Oakland) has one.
The 2011-12 season was one of Michigan State's best defensive efforts on record. The Spartans ranked second in the nation, allowing opponents to shoot .379 from the field, the lowest percentage by Spartan opponents since 1957-58 (.343). In addition, MSU ranked No. 15 in the nation in scoring defense (59.3 ppg) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.299). This season, MSU is allowing opponents to shoot .387 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten, including .315 from 3-point range, ranking fourth. MSU also ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 59.0 points per contest. In MSU's two conference losses, the Spartans have allowed 75.5 points on .538 shooting, as Minnesota and Indiana are the only two Big Ten teams to shoot over 50 percent from the field.
Spartans Shooting Better
Michigan State got off to a cold shooting start this season, failing to shoot better than 39 percent in either half in the opener against Connecticut. In the 44 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 18 times. Through 23 games, MSU is shooting .467 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten.
Nix Attacks The Glass
Derrick Nix grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in his Spartan debut three seasons ago, but did not record double figures in rebounds again until the 2012-13 season opener when he collected 11 boards against Connecticut. He has four double-figure rebounding games this season, and has recorded two double-doubles this season. They were his first double-doubles since his Spartan debut. Following a career-high 25-point, 11-rebound effort against Texas, he was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Dec. 24.
Searching For A Rotation
Michigan State has used five different starting lineups this year. Eight current Spartans are averaging 8.7 minutes or more per game, and 10 are averaging 4.7 minutes or more. Finding a rotation was difficult early in the season due to injuries to Travis Trice, Matt Costello and Gary Harris. In fact, the game at Miami (No. 7 of the season) was the first game in which all non-redshirting scholarship players saw action, and even then, Trice and Harris were just coming off injuries.
Appling At Winning Time
In several of Michigan State's wins, Keith Appling has made key plays down the stretch to secure a Spartan victory. Against Kansas, Appling scored five points in the final 1:36, first hitting a 3-pointer to give MSU a four-point lead, and then connecting on an acrobatic driving layup with 14 seconds left to give MSU a 67-64 win. He scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half against the Jayhawks. Against Boise State, with MSU leading by two points in the final minute, Appling hit another driving layup with 14 seconds left, this time converting on a three-point play to give MSU a 73-68 advantage. Against Oakland, with the Golden Grizzlies having cut the lead to four points with under seven minutes left, Appling knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 15-1 run to close the game. At Iowa, he scored six of his 12 points in the final 1:49, including hitting all four free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds of a three-point Spartan win. Against Ohio State, he had a direct hand in MSU's final nine points, including scoring the Spartans' final six points in the last 41 seconds; assisting on Adreian Payne's three-point play, driving past Aaron Craft for a go-ahead layup, scoring on a breakaway dunk and sealing the game with two free throws with 7.9 seconds left. After the OSU victory, Coach Tom Izzo remarked "Appling at winning time has been as good as anybody." Against Illinois, Appling scored 19 of his game-high 24 points in the second half, scoring or assisting on 11 of MSU's 14 second-half field goals. He scored nine points in the game's final 4:22.
Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine have made key contributions early in their Spartan careers. Harris ranks second on the squad in scoring (12.9 ppg) and minutes (28.8 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.4 apg), fourth in rebounds (3.9 rpg) and sixth in minutes (20.9 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 4.7 minutes in the 17 games in which he's played.
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 260-205, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +2.4 points per game (11.3-8.9). The Spartans are averaging 11.1 offensive boards per game, with an offensive rebound percentage of .347.
Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten makes a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Indiana (No. 1), Michigan (No. 3), Ohio State (No. 10), Michigan State (No. 12), and Minnesota (No. 18) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (Feb. 4). To make matters more difficult for MSU, the Spartans will play a combined eight games against those four teams during conference play. Michigan State's single plays are at Iowa and Penn State, and hosting Illinois and Northwestern. Last season, eight of the 12 league teams participated in the postseason, including five teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Senior Derrick Nix and red-shirt sophomore Russell Byrd will serve as team captains during the 2012-13 season. They were chosen by a vote of their teammates, and Tom Izzo made the announcement at MSU Men's Basketball Media Day on October 9. On Jan. 20, Izzo announced that Keith Appling was added as a team captain.
Michigan State has a reputation for being a strong, physical team and the numbers back it up. Twelve players on MSU's roster can leg press over 700 pounds, with Derrick Nix leading the way with 1100 pounds. Since his arrival on campus, Keith Appling has increased his leg press by 315 pounds under the direction of Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Vorkapich. Collectively, the Spartans can leg press 6 tons - the equivalent of three cars or one African elephant. In terms of upper body strength, Nix leads the way once again, bench pressing the NBA testing standard of 185 pounds 22 times. Gary Harris is the strongest of the guards, ranking tied with Alex Gauna for second on the team with 19 repetitions.
In addition to their strength, the Spartans have also proven to be incredibly athletic, leading to the up-tempo pace Michigan State desires to play this season. When Coach Izzo recruited Adreian Payne, he called Payne the most athletic big man he's ever coached. He wasn't exaggerating as Payne holds the Izzo-era record for a standing vertical jump (no step) at 38 inches. Given a running start, three players can elevate greater than 40 inches: Keith Appling (42"), Adreian Payne (41"), and Travis Trice (40.5").
THE BOOK ON TOM IZZO
In his 18th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 431-173 (.714), and 204-92 (.689) in the Big Ten, as the coach of the Michigan State basketball program. He ranks as the winningest coach in Michigan State history, having passed his mentor Jud Heathcote with his 341st career victory on Nov. 28, 2009 . In his 17 seasons as a head coach, Izzo has captured eight National Coach of the Year awards, including the Clair Bee Award in 2005 and NABC honors in 2001 and 2012. In 1999, Izzo was named National Coach of the year by Basketball Times, while earning similar honors from The Associated Press, Basketball News and the USBWA in '98. He also earned National Coach of the Year accolades from CBSSports.com in 2012. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998, 2009 and 2012.
Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .689 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks third all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (.709), and former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700), and ahead of former Purdue coach Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Ryan (.724), Izzo (.714), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), and Lambert (.709). With 204 conference victories, Izzo ranks sixth all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 17 seasons, Tom Izzo won 412 games, ranking tied for second in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 17 years.
Izzo's Coaching Tree
Five current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Tom Crean (Indiana), Brian Gregory (Georgia Tech), Stan Heath (South Florida), Mark Montgomery (Northern Illinois) and Doug Wojcik (College of Charleston). Mike Garland served as head coach at Cleveland State for three seasons and Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo. Jim Boylen was head coach at Utah for four years.