Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans Dismantle Lowly Wildcats 85-70
East Lansing, MI
The Michigan State Spartans improved their season record to 21-4 (10-2) after an 85-70 decimation of the Northwestern Wildcats. With two starters on the bench in Keith Appling and Branden Dawson it was a display of talent that left Northwestern head coach Chris Collins swooning, “They (Michigan State) are the standard of excellence in this league. We played hard, we battled but they were just the better team.”
He went on to add about the Spartans sizzling performance of skill that, “When healthy I truly believe they (Michigan State) are the best team in the country they’re loaded. I hope they can get healthy. Hopefully they can get their guys back. I feel they are the best team when they’re healthy.”
He added, “Congratulations to Michigan State I thought they played very well. They’re just a very difficult team to play against because they have weapons all over the court”
I asked Tom Izzo about Collins comments about being the best in the nation if the Spartans are healthy. Izzo said, “I think that just got him fired from Duke. I share that we have the chance to be one of the top teams in the country. I know that I love this team. I love that we have great players and good guys.”
Izzo said of his team’s performance that, “I thought we were really shaky early defensively. That 22 assists on 32 baskets, we are getting back to the way we play. Phenomenal getting four players in doubles (figure scoring).”
The Spartans had four players in double figures and Adreian Payne led the way with 20 points and 14 boards. Payne also added three assists, one block and one steal. When asked about how well Payne has played since returning from injury and if he was surprised at how well he has played is didn’t hide his thoughts.
“I am a little surprised. He sure has been a monster. He’s getting rebounds like old. In fact I won’t say like old times, better than old times.”
The Spartans crushed the Cats in rebounding margin 37-24 and the Spartans had seven turnovers compared to Northwestern’s nine. It was domination.
Michigan State shot 53% from the field and held the Cats to 46%.
Stat of the game? In three straight starts Travis Trice has NOT committed a turnover.
As far as the health of his injured players Izzo said of Appling, “I am hoping within a week Keith comes back.” He said of Branden Dawson that, “By the end of the month I feel comfortable he (Dawson) will be back.”
The Spartans return to action on Sunday when they host Nebraska.