East Lansing, MI
In one of the weirdest days I have ever had in many years as a beat reporter covering Michigan State it started with a Mark Hollis resignation, afterward an ESPN E60 Report, rampant rumors that Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo were resigning, a Dantonio press conference, a blowout win, and an Izzo press conference.
With an Izzone wearing teal shirts to in the words of Sarah Albus, Izzone section leader, “Sexual assault awareness for the Nassar survivors,” the game was amazing, but the crowd was subdued. This was a rough day to be a Spartan.
While the rumors circled of the alleged resignations like vultures, Spartan Nation shot them down after two quick phone calls. Out came the anger towards us. I addressed the “Haters” by making it clear that they weren’t resigning today and Dantonio was out recruiting. People, unfortunately, took that “Haters” as a shot at people upset over the sexual assault crimes. That was not how it was meant, it was towards those refuting our report and we made that very clear in a follow-up Tweet.
Dantonio said of the accusations against him that, “Any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false.” He added “Every incident reported in that article was documented either by police or the Michigan State Title IX office. I’ve always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with sexual assault.”
Dantonio and Izzo both made it clear that they aren’t going anywhere. Dantonio only took two questions after his statement and the first was from Spartan Nation asking him to confirm our denial of his rumored impending resignation. Was he planning to resign? He said, “ Absolutely false.”
Izzo said the same when I asked of the rumors of his leaving, “I am not going anywhere in my mind and I definitely am not retiring. I am going to worry about my team and the survivors.” He added, “I hope that I am part of the healing process for both the survivors and the campus community since I have been around here the longest.”
On the night Miles Bridges led the way with 24 points. He also had seven rebounds. Nick Ward had a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. Cassius Winston added 17 points and Jaren Jackson, Jr rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11.
Izzo added, “First of all I want to thank our students and I thought the teal shirts were awesome. There were a lot of things swirling around today and I was worried that they could stay focused and they did. We had three turnovers at halftime and ten in the second half.”
Michigan State still had 13 turnovers. Too many to be sure. They won the battle of the boards 36-28 and they gave up a disappointing 12 offensive rebounds to the Badgers. The Spartans also had nine blocks and 19 assists on 27 baskets. MSU shot 50% for the game while holding Wisconsin to 36%.
The Spartans have a quick turnaround. They play again on Sunday at Maryland at 1 PM. That game can be seen on CBS. The Spartans beat the Terrapins handily here at the Breslin Center back on January 4th by a 91-61 score.
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