The #3 Michigan State Spartans got their fourth win of their season tonight to improve to 4-2 on the season. They took out a Spartan in Tom Crean and his Georgia Bulldogs 93-85.
The Spartans were led by Cassius Winston who had 8 points and eight assists. Xavier Tillman had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Aaron Henry was the only other scorer in double-digits and he had 14.
Tom Izzo said of the contest that, “Well it was a tale of maybe two thirds of a game and a third of a game and I'm going to take it as I'm pleased because it's good to get Cash back on track a little bit here. Aaron was pretty solid until we started giving up threes. And give Georgia a lot of credit. Give Tom a lot of credit. He did a better job than I did keeping his team in the game. I think we got to learn that when a guy gets hot that's a prolific scorer. If somebody let Cassius do that, he could maybe not make the shots he made, but we got a lot of guys letting them get into the rhythm and then trying to guard them and actually doing a hell of a job but it's too little, too late. I thought we quit running, I thought I did a poor job of substituting. I was going to make this guy next to me play today, and I did. But Foster Loyer played pretty well. If I could have got him a couple minutes here and there it probably would have helped him.”
He went on to add, “We're still struggling at the four. And yet early in the game Marcus did a lot of good things. Just disappointing to go back, but I'm happy for Tom and for Georgia. That's the true colors of a team to be down almost 30 points and find a way to come back and almost tie it up. So a lot of work to do yet.”
The Spartans won the battle of the boards 39-34 and the Spartans also had 13 turnovers. The Spartans had the lead for over 36 of the 40 minutes in the game.
Cassius Winston said of the game, “I think I cried before the game and things like that. But once I got out there, I was able to find my rhythm, find my peace out there on the court and that was really good for me, getting up-and-down, just having that rhythm that I usually play with, I feel like this is the first time I kind of had it in a while.”
The Spartan continued their habit of being unselfish. They had 20 assists on 32 baskets. The Spartans shot 47% from three, 51% from the field and a disappointing 73% from the charity stripe.
Aaron Henry said of the team’s mindset heading into this game after a disappointing loss last night to Virginia Tech that, “Everything was more of an internal conversation as far as what we can do to control the things that we can on the court. Of course, we got other teams to play and they have great players, but if we don't do the things we're supposed to do within ourselves then it's going to be hard to even get to that point where we have to focus on them.”
Crean said of Aaron Henry, “Tom's lucky that I wasn't at Indiana any more because we would have never let him get out. I love him. I loved him when people didn't really know who he was because he was a blue collar guy. Very blue collar. Played for a great high school coach. And I'm proud that -- obviously I'm proud that he is at Michigan State. I want, I'll now go back 364 days of wanting Tom to be highly successful. But he's going to be fantastic because he's making better decisions, he can shoot the ball, he can rebound, he can post, he's a multi-purpose player. Really, to me, he's a little stronger than he was at the time. He's going to be on the Morris Peterson train there. I mean, I see the symbolism there, and I'm not big on comparisons, but that's one that stands out to me, not just because they're left-handed, but Morris grew to be a guy that could do a lot of different things and that's why he's one of the all-time greats there. And Aaron -- it took Morris a little while to mature, where Aaron looks like he's really pretty mature for a player and he does a lot of things for them. So he's going to be one of the premier players in the country from the wing spot because he can play multiple positions, he can do multiple things, he can guard multiple people and he's very trustworthy. I would, I haven't asked Tom this, but he looks very, very trustworthy on the court. And when you're trying to win a game you got to have trust in your team, trust in the players on the floor, I'm sorry.”
The Spartans return to the court in one week on November 27 in Maui, Hawaii against the UCL Bruins. That game can be seen on ESPN2 at 2:30 PM.
The Duke Blue Devils will be in East Lansing to take on the Spartans on Tuesday, December 3rd in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. That game can be seen on ESPN and it tips off at 9:30 PM
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