Frustrated Tom Izzo Leads His Spartans To Wooden Legacy Championship with 77-64 Win Over Providence

Rick Waugh

Denzel Valentine senior year 2015.  Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.
Denzel Valentine senior year 2015. Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Anaheim, CA

Honda Center

The #3 ranked Michigan State Spartans defeated the Providence Friars 77-64 tonight to give the Spartans the Wooden Legacy Tournament Championship and a 7-0 record to start the season. Sadly that wasn’t the story.

Anyone with ears and the ability to hear knows that Michigan State future Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo hates the new rules of college basketball. While the NCAA has tried to sell to the public that calling touch fouls will make the game faster and better, it has only made the game worse, boring and to be blunt it robs fans of the stars they come to watch.

MSU had to play a large part of the game without Denzel Valentine while Providence had to have their stars sitting the bench as well. After winning his 503rd career game Izzo was still fuming over the way the game is changing. He said, "I don't think it’s fun to have these guys sitting. I don't think it makes our game as good."

If you think Izzo’s comments are directed at the officials you would be wrong. The Spartan head man is fond of saying, “Everybody has a boss,” and he is right. He stood up for the officials amazingly saying, "It's not the officials' fault. They're scared to death. That's the way they're mandated to call it."

Even Providence coach Ed Cooley was unhappy saying, "(They are) taking the flow of the game away. I don't agree with it." 77 points ties the Spartans lowest offensive output of the year.

How good is Valentine? It is considered an off night when he gets 17 points, six rebounds and five assists whilewinning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. He said of his off night, “It might be like this down the road. I might be in foul trouble and I may not play well and guys have to step up."

With Spartan royalty Earvin “MAGIC” Johnson in the house and LA Clipper Branden Dawson, there was another NBA star there to watch the Spartans. Dawson’s fellow Clipper Chris Paul was there to witness the Spartans.

Both teams shot a bad 47%, and the Spartans hit 67% of their free throws. One area the Spartans shined in the stat box was they had only eight turnovers. Michigan State did win on the boards taking down the Friars 35-28.

Bryn Forbes led the way scoring for the Spartans knocking down 18 points and Deyonta Davis and Eron Harris both came off the bench to put down 12 points each. On the boards Matt Costello and Davis matched Valentine with six as well.

The Spartan will return to action with a very quick turnaround hosting Louisville on Wednesday night in the ACC/B1G challenge at the Breslin Center. That game is scheduled for a 7:15PM tipoff and can be seen on ESPN.

The Spartans are rated #3 in the nation, but could rise in the rankings when the new ratings are released.

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