EAST LANSING, Mich. — Tom Izzo met with the media following Michigan State’s 72-68 loss to Indiana on Tuesday at the Breslin Center.
Watch and listen to his postgame comments in the embedded media player below:
Quotes after the jump.
“Well that was a very disappointing loss. I thought we had our chances but we really didn’t play well enough to win the game. We just made too many mistakes early. We had some of our key players that weren’t into the game. We had some distractions and I think it affected some guys. We bounced back in the second-half and played a little better. Give Indiana credit. For me, the MVP of this league, (Victor) Oladipo, made every play when he needed to. The tip-in was phenomenal. He did the job and the things he has to do offensively and defensively. We got off to such a poor start; I kept telling my staff that if we can be within 10 at halftime we have a chance. Then when we were within six, I was ecstatic. Maybe the best lineup I had when we came back in the second-half was the three freshmen, Dawson and Trice. So we had three freshman and two sophomores in there. We just had some guys that struggled and give Indiana a lot of credit for that. They played hard. They moved the ball well. They made some shots. There were a couple of critical calls that went both ways and unfortunately we missed some free throws. Gary Harris has maybe been the best player I have and we missed some [free throws] earlier that would have maybe given us a chance.”
On what happened on the Oladipo tip-in and the Oladipo dunk:
“With the dunk there was a mistake in the switch. The play that was the killer was the tip-in. What happened is he’s got incredible heart and he just did what he does. I can give you our scouting report right now — cut him out, cut him out, cut him out — and he went and got it.”
On why Keith Appling struggled:
“I really don’t know why to be honest with you, I felt bad for him. He just wasn’t himself. I think you get to the point where he is a very good defender and he kind of let his offense dictate his defense and that was the biggest problem early. All that being said, I think Zeller got four baskets out of the first five, and then we did a pretty good job after that. We just didn’t play well enough early.”
On the last 90 seconds of the game:
“They made some plays? I don’t know if they made some plays, they missed shots and they got tip-ins. That’s a play. Defensively, we did what we had to do and they missed a shot and he went and tipped it in. We missed a couple free throws that could have put us up five and then could have put us up four. Then they get the play where he drives right, drives right, drives right…and he drove right. There were some things that really disappointed me with the discipline of my team tonight but it is keeping guys focused and sometimes you start thinking you’re better than you are. We didn’t play with the same energy and it was disappointing.”
On how tough it was to not give it everything they had:
“Don’t take anything away from Indiana. They came into our place, where you should be eight points better and controlled the large part of the game. They outplayed us. We did not play very well and they had a lot to do with it. I thought inside they took it right at us and inside we were throwing up left-handed hooks, trying to get fouled. The play on Zeller was a tough play but it’s part of basketball. We still had our chances. We make some plays or make some free throws and we still win the game. It was two good teams who played hard. In the second half I thought we played harder than in the first half. I thought Indiana played awfully hard the whole game and deserved to win.”
On the decision to use Denzel Valentine over Braden Dawson toward the end:
“Branden was struggling a little bit early and cutting out too. Really both guys struggled on that but we just felt that was the way it was going. Branden was fine with it, we just felt Valentine was a little bit more of a shooter in there so we went with him. It was a coach’s choice.”
On playing in a game that was “March like”:
“We didn’t answer the bell if you ask me. I made a big point to tell my team we get too caught up with everybody and in the TV and everything. We always talk about buzzer-beaters and end of the game plays. Two points at the beginning, because you don’t guard a guy or don’t cover a back-cut, are the same as two points at the end of the game. They just all add up. Games aren’t lost with a free throw at the end, we just magnify it. That game was lost early I thought, they just took it at us and we have to give Indiana a lot of credit for that. For Indiana to come in on this night with the crowd as good as it was and the national audience, I think that speaks volumes of them. They deserve the credit.”