East Lansing, MI
It wasnâ€™t a pretty game, but when you are facing Penn State that is difficult to do.Â The Spartans did the most important thing tonight and took care of the Lions, blowing them out in what you could call and ugly game. At one point up 22 and then letting the Lions get to within five and then up to a 23 point lead.
The Spartans had 14 turnovers and 44 rebounds, contrasted with Penn State having 13 turnovers and an anemic 25 boards.Â It was just ugly.
Izzo has already put on his tournament hat.Â He wasnâ€™t overjoyed with how his Spartans played, but he was glad to win and survive.Â He said of the game, â€œI thought we were bad, good, bad, good, bad, bad, good , good.Â As soon as we get a lead we go away from it.Â Our bigs didnâ€™t play that good.Â So we won a game.Â We turn the ball over 14 times and half of those were unforced.â€
New Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers watched his Lions fall to 10-15 and 2-10 in the Big Ten with the loss and said of the game afterwards, â€œCoach Izzo did a great job.Â He got the ball to Draymond Green and we couldnâ€™t defend him.â€
Draymond Green was that goodâ€¦again.Â I feel bad for Green who is so good I think many fans take him for granted.Â He had 23 points and 12 rebounds and dominated with five assists.
Izzo was pleased again with his senior star and said, â€œWe are supposed to get him the ball.Â I played him too many minutes straight again.Â After a slow start he did a heck of a job.Â He could have had a triple double if someone could make a layup.â€
I asked Derrick Nix about Day Dayâ€™s outstanding passing and Izzoâ€™s comments about the triple double.Â He said, â€œWe really werenâ€™t ready.Â He is a very good passer and we need to get better at being ready all the time.Â Fellow center Adreian Payne added about Day Dayâ€™s passing skills, â€œWe have to be able to catch the ball down low and finish.â€
Draymond Green appreciated the comments of his two bigs and added to them, â€œIf it was meant to happen I would have got it,â€ talking about the triple double.Â He added, â€œThey know we have to get better at catching and finishing.â€Â
Finally I asked fellow senior captain Austin Thornton about his bigs struggle with finishing.Â He (like Day Day) is a very good passer and he added, â€œWe missed a couple early.Â When Day Day is in the game everyone has to be ready.Â He makes such great passes.â€
Branden Dawson also had a good night for the Spartans.Â He had 12 points and seven boards.Â He continues to mature and is emerging as a genuine threat.
Izzo said of Dawsonâ€™s play, â€œPretty good defense most of the way.Â He was a bright spot.Â B.J. (Dawson) was great, especially defensively.â€
The Spartans improved their record with is win to 19-5 and 8-3 in the Big Ten with a Saturday night tilt against Ohio State in Columbus.Â MSU is currently ranked 11th as they head to Ohio.