December 1, 2012

Izzo: 'We needed a game like this'

EAST LANSING - Michigan State needed something to feel good about coming off of the disappointment of a loss at Miami (Fla.) in the Big Ten ACC Challenge.

The Spartans got exactly that with an 84-39 victory over Nicholls State at the Breslin Center on Saturday.

"There are a lot of teams around the country that are playing in a lot of these kinds of games," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. "Just seeing (Russell) Byrd hit a shot and smile, sometimes you don't get to do that when you are playing some of the teams we are playing all of the time and you don't get much of a break or much practice time.

"Playing a tough schedule a lot of times benefits at the end. The bad is that sometimes guys never get confidence. We needed a game like this."

Michigan State shot 60 percent (33-for-55) for the game and 50 percent (5-for-10) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Keith Appling led four Spartans in double figures with 13 points. The junior point guard also led Michigan State with 6 assists in 28 minutes.

"We felt that Keith was a little tired still," Izzo said.

Freshmen Denzel Valentine[db] and [db]Gary Harris scored 11 points apiece for the Spartans. Valentine was 4-for-4 from the floor against the Colonels.

Adreian Payne sparked Michigan State with 10 points and 12 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench. Payne also led the Spartans with three blocked shots.

"Adreian has been sick," Izzo said, "so that was a big game for him to get his first double double of the year, and we got some solid play out (Derrick) Nix, some great passes."

Izzo was not pleased with the 13-for-23 that Michigan State shot from the free-throw line.

"I was almost going to have the media shoot them because I thought some of you guys could have made more than we were making for awhile," said Izzo. "But the most impressive two stats were the eight turnovers, we took care of the ball a little bit better. We had 20 assists on 33 baskets because in games like that it can get out of hand sometimes."

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