Spartans Traumatized by Tigers

In a game where they were favored by 24 points, the Michigan State Spartans lost to the 1-8 Texas Southern Tigers 71-64 in overtime.

The Spartans came out flat, played flat and finished flat. Both teams started poorly, combining for five points in the first four minutes of play.

Neither team shot the ball very well in the first half, with MSU going 39 percent from the floor and Texas Southern shooting 45 percent. Michigan State relied on its little utilized post game for its most consistent points. Matt Costello, the one bright spot for the Spartans, led the team in the first half with seven and finished as the team’s leading scorer with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

In the second half the Spartans still could not find their stroke. The Tigers went on a 9-4 run to start the second half and pull even with MSU. The teams went back and forth before a 5-0 outburst from Denzel Valentine seemed to breathe life into the team and Izzone-less Breslin Center.

But the energy did not last and the Spartans poor shooting was insurmountable. Texas Southern used its ability to drive and expose mismatches after screens to take the lead late in the second half.

In just his second game, true freshman Javon Bess split two free throws late in regulation to force overtime. Michigan State shot 57 percent as a team from the stripe.

The overtime period was more of the same for the Spartans as they went 0-5 from three point and could not stop the Tigers’ penetration.

Despite the on-court struggles, Tom Izzo took full responsibility for the loss.

“Very disappointing loss,” Tom Izzo said after the game, “That loss falls strictly on me.”

His team finished 39 percent from the field and just 19 percent from three but Izzo said that he did not work his team hard enough in the past two days of practice.

MSU has one day to recover before it takes on The Citadel on Monday. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. eastern.

Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone and a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports

Photo: Impact Sports