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January 15, 2011EAST LANSING - Back-to-back Big Ten wins left Tom Izzo with few complaints Saturday afternoon. But back-to-back overtime thrillers had Izzo reminding his team, 'We can't keep living like this.'
"Give Northwestern a lot of credit," Izzo said minutes after MSU beat the Wildcats 71-67 to move to 4-1 in the Big Ten. "They played so hard and so well.But other than shooting, I don't have a lot of complaints.
"We went in there wanting to get our rebounding back, and we out-rebounded them by 10. We talked about turnovers, you know we had 10 in the first half, then we had five in the second half and overtime, and I thought we did a better job."
Not only was Michigan State able to limit their turnovers in the second half, the Spartans forced Northwestern to a season-high 16 turnovers. Heading into Saturday, the Wildcats were ranked ninth nationally with an average of only 10.9 turnovers per game.
Freshman Keith Appling once again showed beyond-his-years defensive maturity. But against Northwestern, Appling was finally able to show some signs of the scoring prowess he had while at Detroit Pershing.
Appling recorded career highs in points, with 19, as well as field goals (6), and 3-pointers (5).
"Appling, for a freshman, is really starting to raise his game," Izzo said. "They are calling him Charlie Bell now because he can check, and he has checked awfully well for a rookie.
"But he is starting to get his offense going. He was a great scorer in high school. He is starting to get his confidence a little bit and they are starting to look for him."
When Michigan State played Northwestern just 12 days ago, Delvon Roe held John Shurna, the Wildcat's leading scorer, to just 1-for-11 shooting. But Shurna was coming off an ankle injury and, Izzo admitted after the fact, was not himself. Saturday, Roe again shut down Shurna, holding him this time to 2-of-10 shooting. Shurna only hit one jump shot and didn't even do that until overtime. Roe finished the game with a career-high five blocks.
"Appling was the man of the hour this time," Izzo said. "It was fun to watch the players feel that way in the locker room. But let's not go unnoticed on what Delvon Roe did on Shurna.
"Shurna was 2-10 today and was 1-11 the first time, that's 3-21, and I still think that he is one of the better players in our league."
To see all of what Tom Izzo had to say following the 1,500th victory in Michigan State program history, please use the link below or enjoy the video in the player above.
VIDEO - Northwestern Postgame: Tom Izzo