Michigan State Spartans Fall Short in Columbus in Regular Season Finale 69-67
Value City Arena
Michigan State and Ohio State were both among the nation’s elite at some point this season. It was safe to say that entering today’s tilt neither was, but certainly would get the chance to prove it in the big dance later this month.
The #22 Spartans came into Columbus to take on the unranked Buckeyes and according to head coach Tom Izzo “It’s a shame what has happened to this team.” The Spartans fell 69 to 67. The Spartans final regular season record is 23-8 (12-6) and that is a disappointment no matter circumstances that led to it.
Certainly not what they had hoped, but something no one will remember with a Final Four run to Dallas. That is a BIG IF. Izzo said, “We didn’t do much with half my team on the bench for half the game. I’m sick of it.”
He went on to bemoan, “I get half my team back, but I didn’t have half my team back.” Izzo was clearly frustrated with the officiating. The Spartans had 22 fouls on the game and the Buckeyes had only 12. A deceiving number considering the Spartans hacked up 20 three pointers and the Buckeyes only 10. OSU did what they did last year and attacked the Spartans on the inside driving and frankly that draws more fouls.
Izzo conceded that point somewhat saying, “I thought he (Adreian Payne) got the hell beat out of him…I thought inside it was a fish fight.” He added, “We didn’t get the ball into him (Payne) because they were more physical than him.” OUCH.
The Spartans once again played the role of Santa with 16 turnovers. The Buckeyes had only 10 and Izzo said, “We didn’t execute, we turned the ball over…another 16 turnover night. We are a little wimpier than we used to be.”
Perhaps the most disturbing comment by Izzo was when he was asked if the mistakes he saw tonight could be remedied. He paused and said, “I don’t know. I have to see the film.”
Gary Harris was simple and yet succinct when explaining the loss, “We can’t turn the ball over as much.” Perhaps the most interesting thing that a player said came from point guard Travis Trice. He admitted, “We’ve got to learn to finish games.” With the regular season and a team that had the lofty goals that this one did and still does, that is a reason for pause.
Branden Dawson went back to an old theme for this squad saying, “We have to communicate better. They were trying to give us the game, we didn’t execute.”