Spartans growth continues in demolishing Iowa
I was so confused. At the start of the game, there was something seriously wrong with my TV. There was this strange buzzing noise coming from it and it just seemed like it was broken.
Turned out, it was the Izzone. They showed up!
Sadly, the students faded quickly, but the Spartans on the court did not. By the time the game was over, Michigan State spanked the Iowa Hawkeyes so hard their butts were redder than Aaron White’s hair.
“It wasn’t necessarily about sending a message to the Hawkeyes, it’s just about us growing more as a team,” said Draymond Green, who had 22 points and ten rebounds.
The reality is the Spartans — and the Izzone — have steps to take to reach the level they both want to achieve: being the best.
Against Iowa that growth was very evident.
The Spartans hit a season-high ten 3-pointers. Throw in a more season-high statistics, a 61.7 shooting percentage — 55.6 percent from three — and 16 steals.
This team certainly is outgrowing the pace at which Tom Izzo thought they would, but then again, the staple of an Izzo-coached team is improvement and growth through the season.
“We’re making more shots than I thought we would,” Izzo said. “Our defense is better than I thought it would be for a young perimeter team. We are responding.”
And even the players are a little surprised at the growth shown from the Spartans.
“I knew eventually we’d all come together,” said Keith Appling, who had a career-high nine assists and no turnovers. “But to come together (this fast) surprises me.”
Brandan Kearney played his best game in a Michigan State uniform with five points and four assists in 13 minutes. One of his assists came on a perfectly placed alley-oop to Green in the first half, which set the Izzone off after a little lull.
“He has been playing on the scout team every day and this week he killed us,” Izzo said. “I told him Monday, ‘You just earned some minutes.’
“I love guys that want to earn their way on the scout team. you know that speaks volumes for that kid.”
Five Spartans finished with double-digit points — Green, Appling, Brandon Wood, Derrick Nix and Travis Trice.
“I can’t say I’ve had a team with as many guys that are playing a role and still guarding people as this team has been” Izzo said. “So its why we’ve had some success with maybe not one of the more talented teams we’ve had, but definitely one the better chemistry teams we’ve had”
As the team continues to grow to an even higher level, its win streak keeps growing game-by-game and now has reached 15 — a total only topped by teams in 1999 and in 2000-01, which went to the Final Four.
“We’re getting better; we’re making progress,” Izzo said. “But we still have moments and we are just going try to keep getting better.”
Nix gets a technical for mean-mugging
From LSJ’s Joe Rexrode, apparently Iowa’s Melsahn Basabe was talking plenty of trash to Nix during the game.
“You’re weak, you can’t guard me,” Nix gave as examples.
Consequently, after Nix put back his own miss over Basabe in the second half, he got in Basabe’s face — not saying anything, but mean-mugging.
Nix apologized after the game for the tech, saying: “I just be losing it sometimes.”