East Lansing, MI
The #1 Michigan State Spartans kicked off the 2019-202o season tonight with an anticipated 85-50 blowout win over Albion College. It was a festive fun night for the Spartan Nation as Player of the Year Cassius Winston has two brothers on the Albion Team.
The Spartans were led in the scoring department by Xavier Tillman who had 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Cassius Winston was the only other double-digit scorer, he had 16 and nine assists.
Above is the complete video of the Albion Coach and his post game press conference. But here is the transcript as well:
Albion head coach Jody May
I will try to talk into the microphone here as I am not doing too well health-wise. Trying to get after the guys a little bit my voice starts to go. This has been an unbelievable experience for Albion College and our players. I want to say thanks to Coach Izzo. Not only is he a great coach, but he is a great person and we don't recognize enough of the things that he does in this community and in this state and for the game of college basketball. For a younger coach, he is a great mentor for me and someone that I can look up to. With that being said, I want to say thanks to Michigan State.
On how good Michigan State is…
I think they are like anybody else in this early season – we don't know. I don't know how good my team is right now; we have had 12 practices. I do know that when you have a really good basketball player on your team it makes your team much better. Cassius Winston is a very, very good college basketball player and makes everyone on the floor better. I think early in the season we are all trying to figure out what lineups we can play and what works really well together. None of us are playing our best basketball at this time. I know how Coach Izzo is and how things are going to go and there might be some growing pains that everybody goes through early in the season. They have got some guys out injured which so do we. I think you will see the best Michigan State team come February and March.
On getting players motivated for tonight…
We don't have to give many rah! rah! speeches to play the number one team in the country. You are not a competitor if you can't come in here and play hard. The challenge is that when you are hit with some adversity… We played fairly well the first half and some things went our way and then Michigan State started to hit some shots in the second half and we were hit with some adversity. That's when you need the mental toughness of what team is going to stand up. Are you going to quit playing or are you going to try to grind it out? It really wasn't a challenge to come in here and be ready to play. If you are a type of competitor, you want to go up against the best and to answer your question, I do think Michigan State is very good.
On the recruiting advantage of playing Michigan State…
I think it is a great recruiting tool. Michigan State hasn't played a Division III school since the '40s. We do have a win over Michigan State; it was in 1927, but we do have a win. It is a big recruiting piece and we do try to play a Division I as often as we can. We played Evansville last year and we have played Oakland, Detroit and Eastern Michigan and a lot of them. We use it to say, 'Hey…' Sometimes it also decreases their head size a little bit too. Some of the kids, especially the young ones, think they are really good and to go against someone like this, it kind of puts them back into place. It is a great recruiting tool to tell them they can come in and play. We played the number one team in the country and it was a wonderful experience.
On how to build from last year's success…
Like I said from the start, we have got some things to figure out from our team and from our level. We have got some talented kids coming back, but we lost six seniors. We have to find a rotation and eight to 10 guys that can play just like Coach Izzo; he is trying to find a guy to play at the four that can be consistent. We have got some things that we need to figure out as well, but if we can find those then we have got to work on consistency, playing hard and playing defense and rebounding. We showed some signs tonight against a really good team being pretty good defensively and being able to compete on the boards. We need more of it and we turn around with two practices and another scrimmage on Saturday. We open up next week so we have to figure some things out, but I think we have got a chance if we can be consistent.
The regular season tips off next Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City against the #2 Kentucky Wildcats in the Champions Classic.
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