“Coach, you looked more like us.”
That was former Spartan Antonio Smith’s response to Tom Izzo on the effort that Michigan State gave in its 70-50 win against Indiana Monday night.
After an ugly start to the 2014-15 Big Ten basketball schedule, the Spartans came out possessed on a chilly East Lansing evening.
MSU jumped out to a 19-4 lead thanks to incredible half court defense. Indiana shot nearly 50 percent from the field coming into the game with its leading scorers James Blackmon Jr. and Yogi Ferrell averaging 17.2 and 16.3 points per game respectively. The Hoosiers shot 28 percent against Michigan State.
Ferrell was the only consistent offense for Indiana. He finished with 17 while the freshman Blackmon Jr. ended up with eight on just 1-14 shooting.
Branden Dawson had a huge game for Michigan State, defending well along the perimeter and shutting down Hoosier stud Troy Williams in the post. Dawson also contributed on the offensive end with a 14 point 13 rebound performance.
Denzel Valentine led MSU with 15 points despite being under the weather, according to Izzo.
As it has been all season, the Spartans’ transition game made this one a blowout. Michigan State got 23 points on the break thanks largely to a 50-28 rebound advantage.
True freshman Tum Tum Nairn got his first collegiate start against the Hoosiers, replacing an under the weather Travis Trice.
“It’s a blessing,” Nairn said, “It’s an amazing feeling to start a game under Coach Izzo. Words can’t explain how I felt.”
The freshman guard played 26 minutes and scored a career high seven points.
Michigan State’s next game will be on the road at Iowa this Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone and a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports