East Lansing, MI
The Michigan State University menâ€™s basketball team continued their seven game home stand with a shocking 71-64 overtime loss to Texas Southern University. The Spartans were playing their first game without Branden Dawson this season but were still expected to win easily.
That was not the case as the team looked disinterested, sloppy and lethargic for the majority of the game and Texas Southern took advantage to shock the Spartans in over time. Texas Southern entered the game with a record of 1-8; this is an embarrassing loss, maybe the most embarrassing loss of the Tom Izzo era and the responsibility falls directly on Izzo’s shoulders. He said it.
After the game head coach Tom Izzo said â€œThe loss falls strictly on me. My job is to get a team ready to play, I did not work my team, I felt sorry for them, I did not work them like I normally do and I got just what I deserve.â€ He also added â€œThat was a coaching loss and I take full responsibility.â€
Perhaps Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis said it best when talking about the Spartans performance tonight. He simply said, “They (Spartans) missed some shots early and they just kept missing.”
What stood out in todayâ€™s game was how dependent the Spartans have become on three point shot. So far this season the Spartans have been on fire beyond the arc but that was not the case tonight as they only shot 19 % from three point territory. Without their outside shot falling the Spartans struggled to score points in their half-court offense. Sloppy passes, missed lay ups and fumbling the ball out of bounds is not a recipe for an efficient half-court offense much less a victory. No matter the opponent, a team will not win by playing as poorly as the Spartans did today; unfortunately this yearâ€™s team had to learn this the hard way.
Matt Costello continued his strong play of late by scoring 17 points and adding 10 rebounds. A distraught Costello said in the locker room after the game that, â€œTomorrow’s going to be hell, it’s seriously going to suck. No going to church tomorrowâ€¦not happening.”
After the game Izzo said of tomorrows practice foreshadowing Costelloâ€™s later comments, “I’m gonna find out what the NCAA will legally allow me to practice tomorrow and probably exceed it, that’s what I’m gonna try to do.â€
Denzel Valentine had a strong stat line with 15 points and 6 rebounds but those numbers do not reflect how difficult of a game he had.
After the above mentioned players the rest of the team struggled mightily, especially shooting sensation Bryn Forbes who was just 1-9 from three and at one point throwing up an air ball. Senior captain Travis Trice also had an off night going 3-13 from the field with 4 turnovers.
With todayâ€™s loss the Spartans fall to 8-4 with no quality victories. At this point it is not a stretch to wonder if this team will make the NCAA tournament. The Spartans will end non-conference action on Monday night verse The Citadel. After that the Spartans have eight days off before opening Big Ten play at home verse Maryland. Entering this season numerous questions surround this yearâ€™s team, I â€˜m afraid tonightâ€™s horrible loss only raised more questions.