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Spartans Host Texas Southern In Home Opener

The Spartans host Texas Southern in the home opener Sunday.

Nov. 17, 2012

#21/22 Michigan State (1-1) vs. Texas Southern (1-2)
 Date Sunday, Nov. 18
 Time 12 p.m. ET
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center
 Internet Streaming
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Tickets Available at
 Game Notes Michigan State
 Statistics  Michigan State | Texas Southern
 Internet Coverage   Gametracker | Live Stats (Mobile Users)
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

After covering more than 9,500 miles through the first two games of the season, the Spartans host Texas Southern in the home opener. This is also the first game for Michigan State in the Spartan Showcase presented by Auto Owners Insurance, a five-team round-robin event.

1. Home Openers
Michigan State is 95-18 all-time in home openers. The Spartans last lost a home opener on Dec. 4, 1976, falling to Western Michigan, 74-73, good for a streak of 35 straight victories. Tom Izzo is 17-0 in home openers. MSU defeated Texas Southern, 76-41, in the 2011-12 home opener.

2. About The Spartan Showcase Presented By Auto Owners Insurance
The Spartan Showcase presented by Auto Owners Insurance is a five-team, round-robin event, featuring Michigan State, Boise State, Louisiana, Oakland and Texas Southern. The Spartans will play their four games in the showcase in a span of eight days: Texas Southern (Nov. 18), Boise State (Nov. 20), Oakland (Nov. 23), and Louisiana (Nov. 25).

3. There's An App For That
Keith Appling entered the season as Michigan State's leading returning scorer and assist distributor, and the junior guard has picked up right where he left off in 2011-12. Through two games, Appling leads the Spartans in both scoring (18.0 ppg) and assists (3.5 apg). One area where Appling has improved over last season is his outside shooting, as he is shooting .625 (5-of-8) from 3-point range, compared to .250 (24-of-96) in 2011-12.

4. Freshman Contributions
Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine have made key contributions just two games into their Spartan careers. Harris ranks second on the squad in scoring (14.5 ppg), second in shots (25) and third in minutes (32.5 mpg). Although averaging just 2.0 ppg, Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.5 apg), second in blocks (1.0 bpg), fourth in rebounds (4.5 rpg) and fifth in minutes (24.0 mpg).

5. 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 447 of 583 opponents (.767), posting a 353-94 (.790) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded both opponents this season, posting a +10.0 margin, including averaging 15.0 offensive rebounds per game.

Michigan State defeated Kansas, 67-64, in the 2012 Champions Classic in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. An entertaining first half saw eight ties as neither team held a lead greater than five points. Spartan freshman Gary Harris paced MSU with 11 first-half points, while eight different Jayhawks scored as Kansas held a 35-32 lead at the break.

In the second half, Kansas threatened to pull away midway through the stanza, as a Naadir Tharpe 3-pointer gave the Jayhawks a 45-38 lead with 12:02 remaining. But MSU responded with a 6-0 run to maintain contact. KU held a narrow lead for the rest of the half until Keith Appling hit a 3-pointer to give MSU a 54-53 lead. Kansas responded with a 6-0 run to claim a 59-54 advantage. Harris then scored on back-to-back possessions to trim the deficit to one point. Free throws gave MSU a 62-59 lead, but two KU free throws cut the MSU lead to one point with 1:47 left. On the ensuing possession, Appling used a high ball screen to knock down a 3-pointer. After a Kansas three-point play trimmed the lead back to one, Appling scored on an acrobatic driving layup with 14 seconds left to cap the scoring and give MSU a 67-64 victory.

* Keith Appling scored 16 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.
* The contest featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes.
* The Spartans shot 54.5 percent in the second half, including 100 percent (3-of-3) from 3-point range.
* Adreian Payne equalled his career high with four blocked shots.
* For the second time in as many games, Derrick Nix grabbed more offensive rebounds (5) than defensive boards (3).
* MSU improved to 3-0 at the Georgia Dome under Tom Izzo.
* The No. 7 Jayhawks were the highest ranked non-conference team the Spartans had defeated since beating No. 5 Texas on Dec. 20, 2008.
* MSU improved to 1-1 in the Champions Classic.

Coach Davis
Mike Davis is in his first season at Texas Southern, and in his 13th season as a collegiate head coach, posting an overall record of 238-153. He's posted seven 20-win seasons as head coach. From 2000-06, he guided Indiana, directing the Hoosiers to a 115-79 record in six seasons, including a run to the 2002 NCAA Championship game. Following his stint at Indiana, he coached UAB for six seasons, posting a 122-72 mark. The highlight of his time in Birmingham was guiding the Blazers to the their first-ever Conference USA regular-season crown in 2011, earning Conference USA Coach of the Year honors, and securing an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Dane's Coach
Michigan State assistant coach Dane Fife played for Coach Mike Davis during Fife's career at Indiana. Davis was head coach for Fife's final two seasons in Bloomington (2000-02). The two teamed up to lead IU to a two-year mark of 46-25, including an appearance in the 2002 NCAA Championship game. Fife was two-year captain for Davis, and was named the 2002 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Series History
Michigan State leads the all-time series, 1-0, defeating Texas Southern, 76-41, last season. MSU is 5-0 against teams currently in the SWAC, including 1-0 vs. Alabama State, 1-0 vs. Alcorn State, 1-0 vs. Mississippi Valley State, 1-0 vs. Prairie View A&M, and 1-0 vs. Texas Southern.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Texas Southern, 76-41, on Nov. 18, 2011, in the home opener for the Spartans. MSU opened the game with a 12-1 run in the first 3:04. From there, the lead never got below eight points, and was in double figures for the final 29:56 of the game. Branden Dawson led four Spartans in double figures with 13 points, while Draymond Green (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Adreian Payne (10 points, 10 rebounds) both posted a double-double. For Payne, it remains the only double-double of his Spartan career. Michigan State was able to exploit its size advantage, out-scoring Texas Southern, 38-10, in the paint, and holding a 50-29 edge on the glass and a 15-2 edge in second chance points. MSU's defense held the Tigers to 26.4 percent shooting, including 16.7 percent in the first half. For the Spartans it was their 35th straight victory in a home opener.

About Texas Southern
Based in Houston, Texas, the Texas Southern roster features three players from the state of Michigan, including Lawrence Johnson-Danner (Detroit), Aaron Clayborn (Benton Harbor) and Ethan Blackwell (Detroit) ... The Tigers posted a 15-18 record last season, falling in the 2012 SWAC Tournament final ... Seniors Fred Sturdivant and Omar Strong earned second-team All-SWAC honors last season ... Seventy-eight of TSU's 175 field-goal attempts (44.6%) have come from 3-point range ... Starting three players 6-foot-1 or shorter, the Tigers have a -8.3 rebounding margin.

Frequent Flier Miles
With trips to Ramstein Air Base (vs. Connecticut), Atlanta (vs. Kansas) and Miami, Michigan State will travel nearly 12,000 miles in the month of November. In fact, the Spartans already have flown more than 9500 miles within the last week, prior to their home opener.

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 164 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 (151), Kentucky (147), Duke (143) and Connecticut (137).

MSU In November
Michigan State has an all-time record of 96-29 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 67-3 mark at home. The last team to beat MSU at home in November was a David Robinson-led Navy squad that bested the Spartans, 91-90, in overtime on Nov. 29, 1986. Tom Izzo is 45-0 all-time at home in November.

Spartan Defense
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).

Another Tough Start
Last year, MSU opened the schedule with back-to-back games against ranked opponents for the first time in school history. While that won't be the case this season, the start of the year is no less formidable. The Spartans open the season in Germany, playing UConn at Ramstein Air Base in the Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 9. Four days later, the Spartans will play No. 7 Kansas, the 2012 National Runner-Up, in the Champions Classic in Atlanta, Ga. This is the first time since 1918-19 and 1919-20 that Michigan State will open the season with two games away from East Lansing in back-to-back seasons.

Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten will make a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Indiana (No. 1), Ohio State (No. 4), Michigan (No. 5), Wisconsin (No. 20), and Michigan State (No. 22), are all ranked in the most recent USA Today Coaches Poll (Nov. 12), while Minnesota received votes. To make matters more difficult for MSU, the Spartans will play each of the those other five teams twice 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.

Returning Productivity
Michigan State returns four of its top six scorers and 10 of its top 13 scorers from last season. The Spartans return 58.6% of their minutes, 57.6% percent of their scoring, 51.7% of their rebounding, and 54.8% percent of their assists. Keith Appling was the only player to start all 37 games last year, while Adreian Payne (36) and Branden Dawson (31) also started more than 30 contests. In addition, Derrick Nix has started 18 games in his career. On the other hand, however, only five Spartans entered the season having played more than 350 minutes in their time at MSU.

The Izzo Era
In his 18th season as Michigan State head coach, the 2012-13 campaign will be Izzo's 30th season in East Lansing. An eight-time National Coach of the Year, Izzo has guided MSU to seven Big Ten Championships, three Big Ten Tournament titles, 15 straight NCAA Tournaments, six Final Four appearances, and the 2000 NCAA Championship in his stint as head coach. He is MSU's all-time winningest coach with 412 wins, and is the longest serving active men's basketball coach in the Big Ten. In addition, his 412 victories are the second-most by a coach in his first 17 years of coaching in NCAA history.

Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne stands just outside the MSU career blocks Top 10 with 72 career rejections. He needs one block to tie Adam Ballinger (73) for 10th place, and three to tie Andre Hutson (75) for ninth. He equalled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.

A Look Back At 2011-12
Michigan State entered the 2011-12 season unranked, and opened the schedule with a loss to No. 1 North Carolina on the USS Carl Vinson in the Carrier Classic, followed by a loss to No. 6 Duke in Madison Square Garden in the Champions Classic. The Spartans bounced back with a 15-game winning streak, including wins at No. 23 Gonzaga and No. 18 Wisconsin and a home win over No. 13 Indiana. MSU lost three of its next five Big Ten games, but responded with a seven-game winning streak, including wins over No. 23 Michigan, at No. 3 Ohio State and against No. 15 Wisconsin. The streak secured a share of Michigan State's third Big Ten title in the last four years. After dropping the final two games of the regular season, MSU captured its third Big Ten Tournament in school history, defeating No. 14 Wisconsin in the semifinals and No. 7 Ohio State in a classic finals matchup. The tournament championship secured a No. 1 seed for MSU in the West Regional of the NCAA Tournament, where the Spartans advanced to their 10th Sweet 16 in the last 15 years, good for second most in the nation, before falling to Louisville.

Spartan Captains
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.

More Non-Conference Highlights
The games against Connecticut and Kansas to open the season get a bulk of the attention, but there are other highlights throughout the non-conference schedule. Michigan State will travel to Miami for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 28. The highlight of the home schedule is a game against Texas on Dec. 22. In addition, MSU is returning to Jenison Field House for the first time since 1989, hosting Tuskegee on Dec. 15, while also celebrating the 50th anniversary season of the "Game of Change" contest between Mississippi State and Loyola in the 1963 NCAA Tournament at Jenison.

Freshman Class
Michigan State welcomes a talented and decorated class to the team in 2012-13. Gary Harris was a 2012 McDonald's All-American, and the recipient of the Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Basketball award, averaging 25.4 points at Hamilton Southeastern. Matt Costello was the Hal Schram Michigan Mr. Basketball Award winner after averaging 25 points and 19 rebounds as a senior at Bay City Western. Denzel Valentine led Lansing Sexton to back-to-back Class B state championships, and was the 2012 Associated Press Class B Player of the Year after nearly averaging a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Kenny Kaminski missed most of his senior season at Medina with a shoulder injury, but returned in time to lead his team to the Elite Eight of the state tournament. Harris, Costello and Valentine all are expected to contribute this year, while a different shoulder injury makes Kaminski a possible redshirt candidate.

Big Ten Success
Michigan State has captured at least a share of the Big Ten Championship in three of the last four seasons. After winning the title outright in 2009, the Spartans shared the conference crown in 2010 and 2012. Last season, MSU also added a Big Ten Tournament title to its resume. During Tom Izzo's tenure, the Spartans have won seven regular-season titles and three tournament crowns.

Spartan Strong
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.

Athletes Too
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").

Exhibition Recap
Michigan State defeated Northwood (Fla.) (85-57) and St. Cloud State (62-49) in exhibition action. Four Spartans averaged double-figures in scoring, led by senior center Derrick Nix (13.5 ppg). He was joined in double-figures by fellow starters Gary Harris (12.5 ppg), Branden Dawson (10.0 ppg) and Keith Appling (10.0 ppg). Adreian Payne (8.5 ppg, team-best 9.5 rpg) was the fifth starter. Coach Izzo experimented with many different playing groups in the two contests, as 10 different Spartans averaged 9.5 minutes or more.

Coach Izzo
In his 18th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 413-170 (.708), and 196-90 (.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 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 .685 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 (.710), 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 (.726), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.708). With 196 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.



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