Tonight we officially welcomed back Spartan basketball to the Breslin Center.  The Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t have beaten the Spartans tonight.  Izzo’s cagers came out on fire and never let their foot off the gas.  They shot 62% from the field and had more assists (25) then Iowa had made baskets, 23.

 

Izzo said after the game of his teams’ domination, “We played about as well as we could the first half.  Just one of those things.  In respect to us the 25 assists on 37 baskets was the most impressive thing to me.  We were good in all areas, but I think our bigs were a little slow.  Everything went right for us tonight and everything didn’t for them.”

 

Fran McCaffery the first year Iowa head coach had the highlight of the night.  Frustrated almost as soon as he got off the bus, he exploded in the second half and got a technical.  Then he flew into a rage channeling his inner Bobby Knight and picked up a chair while in the huddle with his team and threw it down.  As it went to the ground I couldn’t help but laugh, at him.

 

His actions were more fitting for the Jerry Springer show than the Big Ten hard court, but to his credit he bit his tongue after the game.

 

Draymond Green was nothing short of amazing tonight.  He shot 75% and he had ten rebounds and 22 points.  That went along with five assists and three steals.  He said of his team, “We still have a lot of room to improve.  We are getting a lot more experience, but we have a lot of growing up to do.”

 

Derrick Nix had another good game.  He had four rebounds and ten points.  Several times he led the team on fast breaks and he said to me, “I am just trying to bring energy and be active on every possession.  Coach said as long as I didn’t get a turnover I could push it.  When I finally got one (turnover) he told me that was enough and I was done.”

 

Nix also picked up another technical.  His second of the season.  His first made Izzo happy, but this one didn’t.  Izzo sat him down and tore into him, but Nix agreed that his coach was right.  “No excuse.  I should have done it and coach was right.  I need to be better for my team.”

 

Branden Dawson scored six points, three assists and four rebounds.  He talked about how he was feeling when he said, “It was tough sitting out all those days over break.  It felt real good to play.”

 

What I came away with tonight from this game was that we are seeing MSU basketball again.  Toughness, defense, team first, unselfish basketball all the things that are the marks of the program that has been built here.  

Izzo assistant Mike Garland said to me, “It’s special.  These guys are starting to be a special team and they are bringing back the way we do things around here.  It’ fun.”  I agree Mile.

 

Russell Byrd is battling the flu and didn’t play.

 

The Spartans travel to Northwestern to take on the Wildcats on Saturday at 3 PM EST and then to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan one week from tonight at 7 PM.  With the win tonight they improved their record to 15-2 (4-0) and that also is a 15 game winning streak.