East Lansing, MI
The game ended today with the Izzone chanting, “Little Sister.” That should tell you everything you need to know. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a double digit win and in this series simply winning is big, double digit wins are priceless. The Spartans had lost three in a row to UM and all when the Spartans had a healthy Draymond Green.
Today Day Day wasn’t healthy, but ALA Willis Reed in the 1970 NBA Finals, he led his team to a 10 point win. His Spartans beat the Wolverines who he said earlier this week, “Michigan may dislike us, but we hate them.” It showed.
He went off on the Wolverines single handedly equaling their entire team rebounding total (16) and adding 14 points for yet another double double. He also added four assists and a steal. For the game MSU out rebounded the Wolves 40-16. UM did have only 10 turnovers, while Izzo’s crew had 15. The stat that mattered on this day was the final score.
UM head coach John Beilein said of the play of Day Day, “He was tremendous. I am happy for him. For a lot of young men they go down and end their career when they go down like he did. He has a great spirit about him…he really played his best today.”
MSU head coach Tom Izzo said of his star, “The performance he did with his scoring, his passing and his rebounding…if he isn’t one of the most valuable guys in this league I don’t know who is.”
Green was much more subdued about his performance, “I played a pretty good game, but a lot of the credit has to go to Keith (Appling) for the way he guarded Burke. We didn’t get the margin (of victory) I wanted.”
Even with Green’s humility his teammates couldn’t stop the praises of their captain.
Freshman Brandan Kearney said of his captain’s performance, “He came in and led us today. His energy and effort he brings is inspiring. As a player at this level you definitely appreciate when you see a guy who makes a great effort because we know basketball.”
Travis Trice added of Green’s play, “You could tell he was so focused on winning. Not only was he thinking about his game, but he is always looking to pick guys up and get them involved.”
Point guard Keith Appling had perhaps the best response when he said, “Sometimes when a guy gets going in a zone like that it’s not good, because I caught myself watching him.”
The Spartans next game is Wednesday the 8th of February when they host Penn State. This win brings the Spartans to 18-5 (7-3) and will certainly catapult them from #9 nationally where they rest now up closer to the top five.
More importantly than simply moving up the rankings towards a coveted #1 seed, the Spartans stay neck and neck with Ohio State for the Big Ten title. They tip it off next Saturday (2/11) in Columbus.
Big props to one of my Twitter followers. @KrisTMSU Kristi Buckham was the one who came up with the, “Retaliation Nation” idea for the headline.