January 13, 2010

Izzo approves of 'knock-down, drag-out' win

EAST LANSING - During his weekly press conference, Michigan State described Tubby Smith as the modern-day Gene Keady of college basketball. Wednesday's Big Ten showdown between Minnesota and No. 7 ranked Michigan State was reminiscent of some of Michigan State's games against Keady-coached Purdue teams during the Izzo era.

Minnesota tested Michigan State physically and mentally, but down the stretch the Spartans made a handful of pivotal plays on both ends of the floor to defeat the Golden Gophers, 60-53.

The game played out exactly the way Izzo thought that it would.

"I knew it was going to be a knock-down, drag out game and that is how it started," said Izzo. "I think the difference in the game was early because they had tremendous energy and they got to every loose ball, and it wasn't like we were loafing. They took it to another level."

Michigan State took its play to another level during the final five minutes of the second half. After freshman Derrick Nix was knocked out by an elbow to the chin from Colton Iverson, the Spartans responded with a highlight reel dunk and lay-up by Durrell Summers, who was intentionally fouled on the later. After splitting at the free-throw line, Michigan State scored on a Summers 3-pointer to pull ahead by five points, 28-23.

Summers had one of his better games of his season. The junior wing scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting. He also pleased Izzo with 8 rebounds.

Junior Kalin Lucas led the Spartans with 14 points. Izzo was pleased with the way his captain ran the offense and avoided turnovers.

The win sets up a showdown with Illinois at the Breslin Center this Saturday. Both Michigan State and the Fighting Illini possess 4-0 Big Ten marks and are the only remaining teams in the league without a loss in conference play.


If you are unable to watch the video embedded in the story above, click the link below to hear Izzo's thoughts on his team's win over Minnesota.

Tom Izzo MSU-Minnesota postgame

Below is a link to Tubby Smith's post-game press conference:

Tubby Smith postgame press conference

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