And the Spartans Go Marching Along: MSU extends their best start to a season ever with a 71-66 win Over Indiana improving to 18-1 7-0
East Lansing, MI
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times for the mighty #3 Michigan State Spartans against Indiana tonight here in East Lansing. The Spartans continued their best record to start a season ever with a 71-66 win. They improved to 18-1 7-0. It was an ugly first half with every foul in the world getting called and the second half they finally let them play basketball.
Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean said of the game, “I am proud of my team to be honest with you. We really did a good job the last couple days of establishing togetherness. Bottom line everyone that went into the game impacted the game. The crux of the game we missed some of the shots we were making early.”
MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo thought of the affair, “We didn’t play very well and Indiana played very hard. Our point guards really struggled tonight. They really struggled and inconsequently Dawson was OK and had a two minute stretch that probably won the game for us.”
With Adreian Payne still on the bench in street clothes Gary Harris was the story…again. He had 24 points (20 in the second half) and five steals. He was the game changer.
Crean said of Gary Harris, “Gary Harris was phenomenal. He is improving, he is very tough and he shoots the ball at a high rate. He just improves and improves and his defense has taken significant strides. He is a terrific player.”
Izzo said of his star Harris, “I spent half of my night yelling at him to. He has to start taking over games. What an incredible performance by him again. (He is) The most efficient player in all of college basketball. He put us on his back in that big stretch. He was good.”
The Spartans shot 45% from the field. They struggled with 14 turnovers, but they did force IU to have 18. On the boards IU won the battle 33-28. The Spartans also had 14 assists on 23 baskets. Izzo played a rotation of 11 players that got legitimate minutes with Payne on the bench. This was the second game in a row and an astounding number.
Izzo said of the big rotation that, “I don’t know if it is a real rotation or a necessity.”
Branden Dawson had 13 points and nine boards and Denzel Valentine was again the unsung hero with 10 points, seven boards, three assists and two steals. Keith Appling had eight points, six assists and two steals.
Izzo, “We are going to run out of luck one of these days if we keep playing like this. We did a good job of taking away some of our good things. The problem when you have all of these injuries is that you start playing these guys to death. I thought Indiana outplayed us. If you do have to say something they (players) find a way to win.”
The Spartans next game is on Saturday when they host their rival the Michigan Wolverines. That game will have ESPN Gameday in attendance and can be seen on the four letter network at 7PM.
Tom Izzo updated the health status of Adreian Payne and what it looks like for him playing Saturday. “Payne is a day to day deal. He has run twice. I don’t know. I don’t think he’s playing right now, but he wants to play. I have the toughest coaching decisions in my life to make right now with him. It’s going to be me and him. The doctors have done their part. This is day to day to day. When he starts running full weight he is about 70.”