Izzo: I’m proud of the way we competed under the circumstances


MSU head coach Tom Izzo vehemently disagrees with a call during the Spartans’ 90-46 win over Western Michigan on Nov. 12, 2021/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

A.J. Evans, Sports Editorial Assistant

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Michigan State men’s basketball team traveled to Bloomington in search of its first road win since Jan. 10.  In a back and forth battle that saw both teams jostling for control, Michigan State fell short on the road, losing to Indiana 82-69. 

The Spartans entered Sunday’s matchup on a three-game winning streak against the Hoosiers, who were 9-1 at home entering Sunday’s matchup. 

“I think the sixteen games in six days caught up with us a little bit,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said. “When you’re playing on the road, a couple mistakes can really change things.”

After going on a 10-0 run in the early stages of the first-half, Michigan State could not connect on a field goal opportunity within the last four minutes, and trailed 32-37 heading into the locker room at halftime.

In Assembly Hall, one of the toughest atmospheres in college basketball, the Spartans struggled to respond to Indiana’s momentum in the second half. 

Izzo noted in Sunday’s postgame press conference that junior guard Tyson Walker was sick throughout most of this week, and wasn’t expected to play today. 

“Tyson Walker got sick two nights ago, and didn’t practice,” Izzo said. “This morning, we didn’t think he was gonna play, so I give him a lot of credit.”

Walker went 4-7 from the field, and scored eight points. 

“He played 32 minutes in this one. I apologized to him after the game. We just had no choice,” Izzo said. 

The story of the game for Indiana was Trayce Jackson-Davis, who made his presence felt everywhere on the floor, recording 31 points, 15 rebounds, four  assists, and five blocks. 

“I think he’s [Jackson-Davis] much better,” Izzo said. “I think he’s passing the ball so much better, and he shot much better from the line. He’s a good player.”

Jackson Davis’ five blocks today tied him for first in total career blocks in Indiana’s history. 

Indiana was also bolstered by their bench, most notably guard Tamar Bates, who tied his career-high of five three-pointers. 

Despite the loss, MSU received impressive performances from senior forward Joey Hauser, and junior guard Jaden Akins, who recorded 22 and 15 points, respectively. 

“You have to bring it, in every aspect, especially on the road,” Akins said. “You can’t make a lot of mistakes, and you don’t have a lot of room for error. You have to be on top of your game to get road wins. It’s tough in the Big Ten.”

The Spartans are now in fifth place in the Big Ten standings after Sunday’s loss while Indiana sits right behind them in sixth place. 

“I’m proud of the way we competed under the circumstances,” Izzo said. 

The Spartans will head back to the Breslin Center for a matchup against Iowa on Thursday, before heading back on the road to face Purdue and Rutgers.