Wednesday, 19 September, 2018


Players and coaches react to No. 4 MSU's loss to UM

Michigan State Basketball Michigan State forward Miles Bridges
Noah Ferguson | 14 January, 2018, 12:39

"I think we really have to do a little soul searching with a couple of guys", Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. Simpson finished with 16 points, taking advantage of a game plan that called for him and his teammates to drive toward the basket against a shot-blocking team. Zavier Simpson added 16, Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 14, and Charles Matthews tallied 10 points.

"Some of those turnovers they earned and some of them we deserved", said Izzo. Bridges had a rough night, finishing with just 11 points, and like several games this year, had many people questioning his shot-selection and killer-instinct, or lack thereof so far this season. "We embrace the win because we were able to get a victory over an outstanding team".

MI had led for over 11 of the first 20 minutes, and responded every time the Spartans looked to go on a run. However, Michigan State held a slim three-point halftime lead, going into the break up 37-34. But, like Wagner did today for Michigan, MSU is going to need that and then some, from their star player if the Spartans want to have a deep run in March. While ailing an ankle injury, Wagner was as active as he has ever been this season and used his "in-out" game very effectively.

Wagner was just as affective if not better in the second half.

Michigan State is averaging 13.9 turnovers a game but had started to limit them in recent games. "We've just got to do that come conference play because it's gonna be tougher for us". "He gave us some problems". These games have proved to be different from a neutral site PK80 Invitational championship game or the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Spartans' team-wide New Year's resolution to do a better job of avoiding turnovers lasted about as long as most New Year's resolutions. That, along with an Izzo technical foul to close the first half, sent OSU into the locker room on a 12-0 run and an eventual 80-64 win. Ward and Jaren Jackson Jr. were given a touch nearly every possession as the Spartans targeted Wagner and Duncan Robinson, forcing them to defend or foul. And for every run MSU threw at them, the Wolverines were ready, and responded with ideal execution, largely in part to Mo Wagner's game-high 27 points.

Bridges tied with freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. for the top scorer for MSU, both collecting 19 points. With an early 11-4 lead, Tom Izzo substituted Tum Tum Nairn and Matt McQuaid for Cassius Winston and Josh Langford, an early coaching blunder leading to an 11-0 run for the Buckeyes. Winston was the catalyst in getting MSU a lead late in the first half. He helped the Wolverines pull away in the final minutes with enough free throws to keep a cushion. Winston finished with just two assists while also turning the ball over three times.

"What we've got to do to is get rid of ball screens", Izzo said.

One of the biggest stretches in the game came right out of the game in the second half. The Spartans led for a total of:38 seconds the rest of the way. He made a pair of free throws to give Michigan State a 55-54 lead with about eight minutes remaining.

Michigan State needs to show that even when its losing late in the game, the result isn't determined. The Wolverines finished 42 percent (24 of 57) from the field and 40 percent (6 of 15) from behind the arc.

After the No. 4 Spartans' 82-72 home loss to Michigan, Izzo spoke about four goals he set for his team, starting with two his team "failed miserably" trying to achieve: guarding ball screens and protecting the ball.

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