Spartans Beat Iowa 70-63, but Don't Look Good with Slow Start and Lack of Killer Instinct!

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Breslin Center

East Lansing, MI

An unhappy Izzo watched his team miss a chance to grow up tonight.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

An unhappy Izzo watched his team miss a chance to grow up tonight. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

 

Izzo said it best tonight after the game, “This team does not have the competitive toughness that is needed so far.”

 

A big area of concern with this team for Izzo is the poor starts and a killer instinct when they have the lead. It didn’t matter tonight, but it will down the road. 

 

Against a bottom feeder like Iowa you can get away with slow starts, but not on the road against a Minnesota or an Illinois. Tonight the opponent wasn’t the Hawkeyes it was the Spartans themselves and once again a killer instinct and a slow start reared their ugly heads.

 

For the second consecutive game the Spartans took the first ten minutes off. As I told you in my news and notes column from earlier in the week Izzo said he would judge his team by how they started against Iowa. He did. He said after the game, “We didn’t respect the game or the ball, it was disappointing.”

 

With 7:56 left in the first Kalin Lucas hit a gorgeous three pointer and the Breslin erupted as the Spartan players took on the role of cheerleaders and with a 27-19 lead. The only thing left to wonder at that point in the game was would the Spartans keep their foot on the gas and demoralize their opponent (something Izzo craves) or get complacent?

 

Would they hold themselves back or play down to the level of the competition. The Spartans had a lead as big as 19 with 11:09 left in second half, but with 14 seconds left in the game the Hawkeyes had come back to within three at 66-63.

 

Needless to say Izzo wasn’t pleased with the lack of killer instinct and addressed it, “I was really looking forward to this game as far as maturation…I guess we’re back to baby bottles…we have some work to do.”

 

Again, the outcome wasn’t in doubt, but it certainly was not a good sign for a team that desperately needs to develop a killer instinct and this one hasn’t. Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said it best after the game, “They were in control and I am sure there was a let up on their part, they were in control.”

 

 

The Spartans may have let up, but the crowd rocked the entire game. Lickliter commended them in his post game press conference when he said, “The environment that they have created here is enviable and I admire them. Not all that friendly but I admire what they do.”