January 14, 2013

Tom Izzo postgame press conference

EAST LANSING - Tom Izzo feared the worst when star sophomore Branden Dawson appeared to reinjure his knee on a transition scoring attempt during the second half of Michigan State's 66-56 win over Nebraska on Sunday.

The Spartan coach experienced an emotional 180 degree turnaround a few tense minutes later when Dawson jogged out of the locker room and back to the bench with thunderous applause from the Breslin Center crowd.

"I was here when Mateen Cleaves came out in the National Championship game, but I think I'll admit my smile was bigger tonight because I was scared to death the kid did his knee in again. I felt for him lying there, and I really can't explain the emotions of that minute. And when he ran back in he said he just tweaked it, and I'm sure there was a fear on his part," Izzo said.

There appeared to be contact between Nebraska's Ray Gallegos and Dawson on the play that sent the Spartan sophomore to the floor. But Izzo made it clear that Gallegos did nothing wrong.

"There was nothing there," Izzo said. "He wasn't even touched when he went down. He was injured before he even got touched, so his kid did nothing. This day and age everyone wants to make a big deal about things."

Gary Harris wore a brace on his shoulder for the first time in a month. Izzo does not believe the protective wrap was to blame for his freshman's 0-10 start from the field.

"That was the first time he shot that poorly all year, but still played great defense and played 36 minutes. He had seven rebounds and was 6-6 from the line. Our lack of good screening and their good defense was the main reason. In no way am I worried about Gary Harris," Izzo said.

Michigan State moved to 14-3 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten with win over Nebraska.

"Looking around this conference there are a lot of great teams but they all have their own issues. And we certainly have ours," Izzo said. "This is the weirdest 14-3 team, playing a pretty good schedule that I have been involved with here. It doesn't mean it's awful, just different."

Click below for Izzo's postgame press conference:

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