Spartans Beat the Gamecocks 82-73, but Look Sloppy Doing It.

Hondo S. Carpenter
The Izzone was the highlight of the night as they were in mid season form early.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.
The Izzone was the highlight of the night as they were in mid season form early. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Breslin Center

East Lansing, MI

This past Sunday I sat in on MSU's basketball practice. Izzo meticulously told his team exactly what the Gamecocks would do in tonight's game. They did exactly what he preached.  They flocked to the ball, they trapped, they applied ball pressure before half court and they frustrated MSU's guards.  The Gamecocks are a good team.  They are clearly not in the same league as the Spartans. It was only close because of MSU couldn't get out of their own way.

The final score tonight was 82 to 73. It wasn’t pretty; the Spartans couldn’t hit a free throw to save their life.  Good defense and a team so full of athletes sent this SEC school back to celebrate football. The Spartans were 17 for 34 on their free throws and had 19 turnovers. Amazingly they only had five at halftime.

The biggest shocker was that the Spartans were out rebounded and that doesn’t happen to Izzo teams. Especially at the Breslin Center.

Izzo who garnered a lot from this game to correct couldn’t hide his disdain. He said after the game, “I was very disappointed in mine (team). We just couldn’t get the right lineups in there. Some of the most ungodly turnovers I have ever seen.”

USC head coach Darrin Horn who is used to playing the top teams said of the Spartans, “We knew coming into this game the challenge was more than players and X’s and O’s. Sixteen years of building a program…This is what we want our program to look like…We have a young team and didn’t handle it well. I think the strength of their team is their team.”

With the Spartans up 62-46 with 10:13 left in the game Kalin Lucas went down with an ankle injury. He was fine and walked off the court, only to return less than a minute later. It was not his Achilles, it was a, “rolled ankle” according to Izzo.

Delvon Roe had an excellent game. He scored 15 points, had five boards and six assists. Most importantly to the Spartan Nation was that he looked fresh and healthy. He told me in the locker room after the game that, “I guess I can’t really think about how I did or didn’t do. This is Spartan basketball and the team didn’t play real well. I think about the team first and that is what I am really concentrating on.” Humble words from a great young man.

Draymond Green was outstanding in every part of his game tonight. He had great defense and explosive offense. He led the Spartans with 18 points and added 12 rebounds. He also had six steals and four blocks. He thought he played, “Pretty good. I can’t have that many turnovers (three) and miss those free throws.”

The real star this evening was the Izzone. One of my colleagues from the South Carolina media said it best, “I wanted to come here if for no other reason then to hear them.” They have gotten a lot of grief from alumni and fans, but they were simply outstanding. Izzo said of them after the game, “The crowd was phenomenal. They were there early and stayed late and we didn’t give them what they deserved.”

This is the Spartans last game before they head to Maui, Hawaii on Friday morning. They are 2-0 on the season.

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