Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Michigan State finds multiple ways to win

November 24, 2013 Columns No Comments

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – When you have the best team, you tend to find a way to win games.  That fits Michigan State in Brooklyn on Saturday, and it wasn’t one factor but rather multiple ones that were behind the Spartans taking home the championship of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic by knocking off pesky Oklahoma.

“We were a little bit slight of people, and even though it was disappointing and we played a little sporadic, it shows a little character that you can figure out a way to win a game,” said head coach Tom Izzo.

The Spartans have several good players, as evidenced against Oklahoma, but more important is that they know how to help each other and win.  If one player is struggling, someone else is ready to take over.  Adreian Payne a relative non-factor with foul trouble?  Branden Dawson has a double-double with 18 points and ten rebounds while guarding multiple players through the course of the game.  Keith Appling a so-so half?  Denzel Valentine comes in and hands out five assists with no turnovers in the first half to keep them in it and then lead.

And that set the stage for Appling to take over in the second half while Gary Harris was less effective as he cramped up.  He scored seven points in the first half with just two field goal attempts, both from long range, and Izzo didn’t want that.  Appling obliged, and in the second half he was 7-10 from the field for 20 points to finish with a new career high of 27.  More importantly, he did a lot of that damage once Oklahoma had rallied to within 57-53.  He had a conventional three-point play and a dunk for a personal 5-0 run, a short jumper after an Oklahoma three-point play, and two more short jumpers and another three-point play late to answer more Sooner rally attempts.

The tournament MVP, Appling was far more effective going to the basket, hitting shots close to the basket even in traffic.

“What I like about him is he took over under control,” said Izzo.  “I told him, he cannot settle for threes.  He got in the lane, he made some acrobatic shots, he’s a phenomenal athlete, he made some good decisions.”

Appling doesn’t get nearly as much pub as other Spartans like Harris or Payne, but he is no slouch, and he might be their most important player.  It was evident against Kentucky in the Champions Classic, a win he was instrumental in with 22 points and eight assists.  Saturday night further showed it.

“Once I got back in, I just wanted to be as aggressive as I possibly could to make things happen for our team to get the momentum shifted towards our way,” said Appling.

Harris, had a fine first half with 14 points before cramping up in the second half and being limited.  They’ll take that over his shoulder issues that he played with last year as he won’t miss any time from it.  Dawson was the one player who was consistent for the entire game, at times even guarding Oklahoma’s Cameron Clark after he got off to a hot start.

“He’s a mismatch no matter who we’re playing,” Appling said of Dawson.  “He can guard one through five, so everything he does for us is big.”

Izzo said he thought his team was going against their identity when Oklahoma ran out to a 22-11 lead.  The Sooners were all over them at both ends of the floor and helped by the hot start from Clark, who went on to score a career-high 32 points.  After that stretch, the Spartans were at times as dominant as they’ve been all season long.  Izzo put some of the team’s inconsistency on himself, noting that he feels it’s on him to make these stretches of dominance longer than they had on Saturday night.

“We’re not a pretty boy team, I don’t want to be a white collar team,” said Izzo.  “We were that way the first ten minutes, and hopefully we’ll learn a lesson.”

Michigan State was clearly the best team in Brooklyn, but they are continuing to play like a team that belongs in the conversation for best team in the nation.  They haven’t let up since the big win over Kentucky, taking care of business against Columbia and Portland before coming to Brooklyn for two more wins.  Izzo will work to get more out of them, especially since they know they’re getting everyone’s best shot now that they’re atop the polls.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017 by

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and after two rounds that could not be more different. Ted Sarandis leads the way as we break down the first two rounds, as well as coaching news that emerged over the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look back on the first round games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with a couple of terrific performances on Friday night.

College Basketball Tonight – March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017 by

We bring you College Basketball Tonight, a comprehensive look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran broadcaster Ted Sarandis. The NCAA Tournament field is set, and we break down each region as well as some big picture subjects.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 2

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 2 of our podcast, we talk about the ACC Tournament and others that have found new homes in light of comments made by a prominent coach that got quite a reaction, then we talk about the NCAA Tournament bubble as that subject begins to dominate conversation for a couple of more days.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 1

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 1 of the podcast as Championship Week rolls on, we look at some important games in New York, as well as surprises in the Big 12. Also, more coaching changes are happening, and we talk about some of the news there.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.