Here in Brooklyn: #1 Spartans Turn Barclays Center Into a House of Payne: MSU 96 Virginia Tech 77

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Brooklyn, New York

Barclays Center


Spartans Turn Barclays Center Into a House of Payne:Â MSU 96Â Virginia Tech 77


The #1 Spartans traveled to New York this weekend to take on Virginia Tech to kick off the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament here in Brooklyn. Thanksgiving came early for the Spartans as the Hokies were just outmatched down the stretch.


Tom Izzo had this to say about his Spartan’s performance. “For us, Dawson and Harris were average early and then after that Dawson played really well and Appling (played well too). Our guys were getting on Harris. If Gary makes some of the shots he normally makes, it would have been a big assist night for Appling and that has become important to him.”


Harris started the game cold missing numerous open shots beyond the arc. It is uncharacteristic of Tom’s icy-hot three-point assassin. Like all good shooters, Harris kept shooting and when the night was over he had amassed 19 points. It looked like he found his stroke midway through the second half.


Power forward Adreian Payne dominated the first half with twenty points to lead the Spartans. He finished the game with a career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds. MSU got strong contributions from Branden Dawson, Keith Appling and Gary Harris. They all scored in double figures to help put the Hokies away.


VT Coach James Johnson was asked about Payne’s performance. Here was his response. “Thought we did a good job on him within the inside, but he hurt us on the outside. When he is playing like that, he is a load.”


I asked Coach Izzo about Adreian Payne and whether of not he is the best power forward he’s had at Michigan State during his tenure. This was Coach Izzo’s response. “Yeah… yeah, I think he definitely is. You know, we had a good shooter in Grainger and Hutson played the 4 and 5, did some (good) things you know. We had some good guys during the 2008, 2009, 2010 era, but if you look at all things right now, he is one of the best power forwards or stretch forwards… hybrid forwards, whatever you want to call it.”


Tom looked more content than he usually does this time of year. He was more reserved with his criticism on this particular evening. He seemed pleased with his team’s performance.Â


Other notable stories included solid defense from Matt Costello in the post. His #10 jersey was left in East Lansing so he wore the uncustomary #54 without a name. Kenny Kaminski, Russell Byrd and Alvin Ellis III all saw game action this evening. Kaminski shot the ball on three occasions behind the three-point line and managed to drain one of his attempts.


MSU takes on a pesky Oklahoma team tomorrow night here in Brooklyn. Oklahoma stole the early game away from Seton Hall to reach the finals versus MSU. More MSU basketball coming to you from New York tomorrow night.