STUNNED: Michigan State Spartans Player Terrible with so much on the line and get upset by Illinois 53-46!
East Lansing, MI
The Spartans had raucous alumni Izzone that was out of this world, combined with a packed house and with the return of Branden Dawson and they had recipe for success. Instead they played lethargic, disinterested and sloppy. Here at the Breslin Center today they got beat by Illinois 53 to 46. 46 points was the lowest amount of points the Spartans have scored in any game all year.
The Spartans came out sloppy and looking tired, and it never changed. They played well enough to win on D, but poor ball management, lackadaisical moving and poor personnel decisions by Tom Izzo doomed them against an Illinois team fighting for their life. Simply put MSU acted like the Illini would lay down and Illini came out punching, kicking and swinging.
The Spartans had 16 turnovers and shot only 39%. Illinois had 15 turnovers and shot 48%. It was ugly. For a team play for so much, for a team that every one of them said was an NCAA championship or bust campaign it as unexplainable.
MSU shot a lowly four of eleven from the line and the Illini had 25 points off of MSU turnovers and the Spartans had a pitiful nine.
Izzo is fond of the saying, “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard,” and it was true today. MSU on paper is far superior to the Illini and coaching talent isn’t even close, but in every phase MSU was embarrassed.
With so much on the line it is impossible to comprehend the effort the entire team gave today. This loss starts at the top and the staff didn’t have this team ready. With multiple days off this week the team look exhausted in the first half and gave the ball away like a food bank.
Only one Spartan had more than seven points and that was Gary Harris who had 19. Along with Harris the other Spartans to perform admirably on offense was Gavin Schilling.
Spartan Nation broke the story before the game that Schilling was getting the start. He had seven points and three rebounds. After Harris and Schilling the only other Spartan to play well was Dawson who brought intensity on D. He finished with six points and seven boards. He also had one block and two steals.
Illinois head coach John Groce said of the contest that, “I was really proud of our guys. That is the fourth game in a row that we held a team to under 50. We are playing as good as we have on that end (defense). Our shot selection was good and we executed well. We got off to two really good starts in both halves.”
Tom Izzo thought, “Today was a joke…had some guys revert…thought the energy level was an all-time worst. It started with the first shot when we gave up a three. Seemed like everything came to a head and we just didn’t have any juice. Adreian had no energy today. We haven’t guarded for a month. Inexcusable. Ridiculous. Maybe a slap in the face was good.”
The Spartans return to action Thursday to take on Iowa for senior night. That game is a 9PM tip and can be seen on ESPN2.