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Spartans Defense Is Much Improved, but Fall in Madison 82-56

Keep fighting on.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Keep fighting on. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Madison, WI

Kohl Center

Tom Izzo promised this week that his team would have renewed commitment to defense. The good news is that they did. The bad news is that the Badgers shot 59% for the game. The renewed commitment didn’t really do much as the Spartans got blown out 82 to 56.

The sad part is that they did play better. It was pathetic to see the Spartan program drop another by double digits, but there was no lack of effort today. That says something when a team is sliding. The Spartans could have quit. They could have stopped playing. They didn’t. I don’t believe in moral victories, but that certainly speaks to the heart of this team.

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This season is what it is. The hope that I leave Madison with is that this team kept fighting. Kept checking. Kept playing. You can’t teach heart and this team showed that it had it. Something we didn’t see against Iowa.

A disappointed Izzo said afterwards, “I don’t think I have seen a barrage of shots made like that since I came in the league…Sure our defense wasn’t great, but they made some shots…Honest go God I am being a little shallow here, but the guys did everything I asked of them today…The Badger God’s are hopefully with the Packers like they were with them today.”

The Spartans were out rebounded by a 24-18 margin, but they did only have seven turnovers. The Spartans efforts were light years ahead of the Iowa game. They shot 81% from the free throw line and that certainly helped, but what can you do when Jordan Taylor plays like Michael Jordan. He had 30 points for the game and six assists.

Kalin Lucas lead the way playing 38 minutes, having 20 points and a team best three assists. Nine Spartans had double-digit minutes. Lucas said after the game, “No matter what I do it doesn’t matter. We have to play harder.”

For now the Spartans have to keep digging and look for answers. The Spartans record for the season falls to 13-10 (5-6) and they host Penn State on February tenth. They lost to the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley on January 8, 2011.