Post-Game Locker Room Report: Michigan State defeats Ohio State 77-70 by Casey Campbell

Photo courtesy of the FREEP

BIG TEN TOURNAMENT: Michigan State defeats Ohio State 77-70 

The Michigan State Spartans defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes 77-70 in the third round of the Big Ten Tournament. They will take on the Winner of Nebraska/Wisconsin tomorrow.

The Story of the game was Foster Loyer as he had 14 points in the game for the Spartans while Cassius Winston was struggling with an injury. Winston had 18 points in the game as he got back to his normal self in the second half. Matt McQuaid had 12 points in the game.

The game also featured the Return of Nick Ward as he had 8 points and was 3 for 4 in the paint. The win also marked Michigan State Basketball coach Tom Izzo’s 600th win as a head coach.

When Tom Izzo was asked about Foster Loyer he was asked if he saw flashbacks from Loyer’s performance against Clarkston in the State Finals last year and if that compared to his performance today. He said this was different. It wasn’t the state finals; I’ve watched Foster for three years does that. He averaged 40 in the state tournament. So that was good. But I’ll put an advertisement in for Mooch and I. I’m wearing this gold and black sports coat because, if you’re from IronMountain you’re wearing one, too. The Mountaineers are playing in the finals tomorrow. You talk about something exciting, Steve and I, our hometown team, not even did he and I make it down that far to the finals back in the day. So my gold and black is in honor of them and Foster, maybe it’s March time for him. Maybe that’s what he figured. Because I think he averaged 40 a game in both of those games. He looked so smooth and comfortable tonight and definitely saved us in the first half.” Izzo said.

The Michigan State Bench also stepped up today as they had 24 points in today’s game and Coach Izzo said they stepped up big in this game. I thought they did. One of the things we came with is we had to get some bench points. I didn’t think we would get that many out of Foster. We thought we had to not turn the ball over, and we had eight in the first half. We thought we had to rebound better and I think we were down in that.

We made progress in all those areas. Our bench did a better job. I think we can still get more out of Gabe and more out of Nick. Our rebounding improved a little bit the second half. Our turnovers improved a lot. And part of Cassius earlier was he just wasn’t moving real good. And I’ll tell you something, he’s done a heck of a job with Ohio State. They’ve got a young team. And even though their guy wasn’t hurt, he was out for three games and Wesson is a hell of a player but I think some of those freshmen are improving. And they’re definitely going to be a tournament team that I think brings something to the table with Wesson in there that can help. As I still think, as I promote our league, I still think Indiana is a tournament team. And that’s speaking from experience in getting beat and how they play. Yesterday was a struggle for them. But in general, this league has been unbelievable this year.” Izzo said

Coach Izzo also said talked playing without Nick Ward for the last few weeks and said even though they had success without him its better with him. I think Nick did a phenomenal job considering he hasn’t touched much. He hasn’t practiced two times since — in three and a half weeks. And I think that’s a big deal. And I thought he played pretty much within himself. Got enough minutes where we got him some time. But what did he go? Did he go 3-for-4? A couple of rebounds, eight points, 15 minutes. That’s a great start. I think we’ll be able to build on that. But when people — early in the year people said, you might be better than you were last year with two lottery picks. Those people are insane. And these same people that are — you’re better — we played better. We played good. I mean I can see why the eye test sees that. But we needed a lot more flexibility, and there’s going to be fouls, there’s going to be problems. Getting Nick Ward back, I think is very critical to us marching forward.” Izzo said

Michigan State will take on the winner of Wisconsin or Nebraska Tomorrow.