Loyola of Chicago-Michigan St. Preview
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has never been one to sugarcoat
his true feelings, and he’s becoming increasingly frustrated with
his team despite back-to-back blowout victories.
The 19th-ranked Spartans look to clean up their play while
earning a 70th consecutive home victory over an unranked
non-conference opponent while they host Loyola of Chicago on
Michigan State (7-2) bounced back from a loss at Miami on Nov.
28 by committing only eight turnovers in an 84-39 rout of Nicholls
State last Saturday. Its spotty play returned Wednesday, though,
when it finished with 19 turnovers in a 76-44 victory over
Despite the Spartans holding Pine Bluff scoreless for nearly the
first 10 minutes, they missed nine of their first 10 shots and
seemed to play with a lack of discipline.
“Missing good shots and turning the ball over kind of made me
not appreciate our defense,” Izzo said after Pine Bluff shot only
That was about the nicest thing Izzo had to say about his team,
which ranks last in the Big Ten at 15.3 turnovers per game. He was
visibly upset at his players during timeouts and made it clear
following the game they need to play harder.
“I need somebody to show some emotion,” Izzo said. “If it’s not
what they want to do, this is not the right place for them.
“If we play as sloppy as we did, we’re going to get punched
right in the mouth.”
Freshman Gary Harris scored 13 points and Travis Trice added 12
off the bench for the Spartans, who have four non-conference games
remaining before opening Big Ten play Dec. 31 at No. 14 Minnesota –
one of six conference teams in the Top 25.
“Coach wasn’t happy at all,” Trice said. “We weren’t, either.
We were disappointed in ourselves. That’s not the way we play. You
can’t relax like that. We’ve got bigger things to play for.”
The Spartans will look to pick up their play against Loyola
(6-2), which has won four straight after a 77-50 victory over
Furman last Saturday.
Freshman Devon Turk hit 7 of 10 from the field, including 5 of 7
from 3-point range, and scored a game-high 19 points off the bench.
He entered the contest averaging only 5.1 points.
Turk has hit 15 of his 30 3-point attempts this season.
“Devon has a quick, confident trigger,” coach Porter Moser said.
“He’s been pretty consistent. We’re just trying to get him more
aggressive off the dribble.”
Senior forward Ben Averkamp, leading the team with 16.5 points
per game, was held to 10 for the Ramblers, who will be facing the
Spartans for the first time since an 80-54 loss Dec. 17, 2002, at
the Breslin Center.
Moser will be coaching Saturday despite it being the funeral of
his mentor Rick Majerus, who passed away a week ago. Majerus
coached his last game when Michigan State beat St. Louis 65-61 in
the NCAA tournament March 18.
“I am extremely sad that I will not be able to attend the
funeral on Saturday but I know Coach Majerus would never want me to
miss this game,” Moser said.
Loyola hasn’t beaten a ranked Big Ten team since an 83-82 win
over No. 9 Illinois on Dec. 27, 1986.