Tom Izzo Talks Michigan State Spartans & Looks To Nebraska
Hondo S. Carpenter
East Lansing, MI
The #25 Michigan State Spartans hosted ESPN Gameday on Saturday and then fell at home. #9 Maryland came out on fire and dropped the Spartans 67-60. The loss takes the men in green’s season record and conference record to 17-9 (9-5).
The above video was Tom Izzo moments ago talking about the loss to Maryland, looking ahead to Nebraska this week and of course the long term state of the Spartans. Below you can also read some of a frustrated Izzo's comments after the loss to Maryland on Saturday.
Well first of all, I want to give Maryland credit, championship teams make championship plays down the stretch. I'm very disappointed in our effort the first half, I think they had eight offensive rebounds in the first half and seven in the first eight minutes. I think they had 15 free-throws in the game, 11 of them in the first half. I think if they don't get the two in the end, only two in the second. I thought for us, played unbelievable defense. They hit four threes at the end, 12 points at the end. They scored 14 points in the last three minutes. They scored 14 points in the first 17 minutes or whatever it was. They deserved to win the game and we deserved to lose the game. The wings didn't rebound, Xavier (Tillman) looks like he had a good game on paper but those plays at the end, the blurs, the double screen on Rocket (Watts) – I probably played Tillman too much, he's got a lot going on and I just played him to death, but we had to. You probably have better questions than I have answers but, it's a shame too that we were down 23-10 I think on the boards in front of my team that stood for rebounding, it's embarrassing. It's even more embarrassing when you lose by one, which means in the second half you out rebounded them by a ton. Anybody who wants to know why I get on - well, the first half, not a rebound but in the second half he gets five. We just didn't play well enough…we didn't make some winning plays. I thought early we missed a lot of good shots… they were half down. But, give Maryland all of the credit. I love the way they didn't take a lot of bad shots. We had some guys taking threes that have no business taking threes. It's one thing if you're 10 up or 15 up, but it's not okay when you're two or three up. So, questions.
On Serrel Smith Jr.'s late three…
Well, we had a freshman in the corner that was supposed to stunt it, was so tired that he couldn't get out, the next time he got out, great. I'll just say they made a great play, we had a blown coverage, that's all.
On if today's film would be good tournament prep film due to the loud crowd and close end…
I don't know, I would like to thank our fans, they were phenomenal. Really, I'd like to say sorry to our championship team because for us to rebound like that was an insult to me and to them. But, I'm not thinking about the tournament or winning another game because we're finding ways to lose instead of finding ways to win, I know some of the reason for that, but not all of them. Give Anthony (Cowan) credit because I don't think he took a bad shot all night and he made some big ones down the stretch.
On struggling to close out games…
I think some of it's my fault. I'm playing Cassius (Winston) and Xavier (Tillman) too many minutes. I think some of it is those two guys got a lot of stuff on their plate and maybe mentally we're struggling. But sometimes you need somebody else to step up and the only guy that's stepping up and he missed some shots bad, but I'll take Rocket's (Watts) energy, how hard he plays. He can miss shots, I can live with that. At least he competed, I don't think some guys competed like they need to compete. The other guy I thought did compete, I don't know how many minutes he played but I should have played him more, went in and got some big rebounds and did some things in traffic that he hasn't done since the Michigan game last year. That was a positive and hopefully we'll build on that.
On adjusting to the level of the Big Ten…
I appreciate the excuse but when you're playing in front of every former alum that played here and that's what's wrong with the world right now. We don't play for enough people and we play for ourselves. We're selfish and if you can't get fired up for that with the crowd the way it was, with GameDay here then there is something wrong with ticker and that performance in the first half that was something wrong with our ticker which the only guy who has to take the blame for that is me. I'll be more than happy to take it but no that's not because there's a game here every night. Maryland has a game every night. They're the only ones that have kind of sustained through it but give them credit. Mark (Turgeon) did a hell of a job and he's got two very good players, but I don't think his very good players are what beat you. I thought it was those other guys that guarded and checked and rebounded and did a lot of good things. Everybody's got five, six, seven rebounds and they're athletes. I've got one and two, so I'd like to take that but I'll appreciate the help but no I'm not going there. They've got the same thing we've got except for some things we've been through, but you can't lose a seven-point lead with three minutes left at home on blown assignments. That's not right.
The team will return to the hard-court Thursday, February 20, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Pinnacle Center. They will be taking on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. It can be seen on FS1 at 8:30 PM ET.
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