Tom Izzo doesn’t usually get emotional when he accomplishes something for himself. He saves it for when his team or a player reaches a milestone, but with under a minute left in No. 10 Michigan State’s (17-4, 6-2) victory over Minnesota (15-6, 3-5) Tom Izzo was tearing up on the bench.
The game itself was entertaining for Spartan fans. The Spartans only trailed once in the game, and that was 3-2. MSU shot 54 percent from the field and out-rebounded Minnesota 32-24 to a 68-52 victory.
Freshman Branden Dawson continued his recent strong play, scoring 16 points with a few rim-rattling dunks sprinkled in.
The real star of the game was senior forward Draymond Green.
The Saginaw native scored 22 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had six assists. While Green is used to impressing the Izzone and Tom Izzo, he also impressed Minnesota’s head coach Tubby Smith.
Smith recruited Green heavily when Smith was coaching at Kentucky. Smith talked to the Lansing State Journal after the game.
He’s such a multi-faceted player, he can do so many things. He’s hard to guard and he can make good things happen good for your team on the defensive and the offensive end. He’s a real difference maker and I thought he was the difference maker tonight.
The duo of centers Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne continue to be a deadly combination for opposing teams.
Both Nix and Payne have found their shot down by the hoop and continue to call for the ball and be aggressive. The duo finished with 16 points total, each scoring eight points.
If there is something negative to take from the game for the Spartans, it would be free-throw shooting. The Spartans shot 60 percent from the line, making only 14-of-23. In a closer game against a better opponent, free throws may have been the difference.
After Austin Thornton’s recent “scoring” surge, the senior returned to his old role of leading the team verbally and in fouls.
Freshman guard Travis Trice didn’t see the floor against Minnesota due to a hip flexor that he recently sustained. With some rest, Trice should be back on the court when Michigan State next plays at Illinois on Jan. 31st.