Tom Izzo has won more than 600 games at Michigan State since taking over the program in 1995. Until Tuesday, none of those victories had taken place at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Duke's campus.
A 75-69 win against the Blue Devils to open the Champions Classic changed that fact—and whether or not there were fans in the building won't take away from the coach adding another significant line on his resume.
"I know one thing: I'm not gonna put this as an asterisk," Izzo said. "It was a good win for us against a good team, a great program and a very, very well-coached team."
Izzo had failed to notch a win at the famed venue in three previous attempts. The fourth time proved the charm, even if the circumstances weren't ideal.
Cameron Indoor hardly resembled itself without fans an arm's reach from the court, and the quietness of the arena was eerie. Yet both teams had to battle through the same strange conditions with the No. 8 Spartans holding off the No. 6 Blue Devils despite a late comeback attempt by Duke.
"We came down here to win a game," Izzo said. "I think I've done a poor job over the years. I either get too hyped for the game or give them too much credit. I thought we were a good team that could beat them. I thought they had a good team, but I thought our defense and our depth—and it turned out that way."
The last time Duke lost on its own floor, Stephen F. Austin was finishing off an overtime victory with an emphatic dunk at the buzzer.
This one couldn't have been more different with two blue-blood programs battling for 40 minutes.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Cameron Indoor was as quiet as it would have been had fans been allowed to watch. That sounded perfect to Izzo, and he has nothing to apologize for as he celebrates one of the few remaining achievements he's yet to accomplish.