Amazing Michigan State Spartan Season Comes To An End With Final Four Loss to Texas Tech
US Bank Stadium
Any season in which you can hang a banner is a good season, and Tom Izzo’s Spartans can hang two. His eight Final Four (10th in school history) and a Big Ten regular-season title. All while battling the longest of odds with the injuries that plagued the team all year.
Tom Izzo said of the contest, “It doesn't diminish on the incredible season these guys have had. Probably in a day I'll be able to sit back and look at the incredible journey and the incredible run. It's just disappointing in some way. I've heard Chris talk about how he built his team, and I guess somewhere there's a compliment to us that he kind of believes in the same philosophy, which I think is true for any sport. We always talk about defense wins championships. We didn't defend so bad until the last five, six, seven minutes, and then we kind of fell apart.”
Red Raider Coach Chris Beard said, “On behalf of everybody in our program, I just want to congratulate Michigan State on another Final Four berth, championship season. I have so much respect for them. When you're in games like this and you have a week to prepare, I basically watched every game Michigan State played this year, every interview, every article, and you kind of get to know somebody. This is one of the class programs of all of college basketball. Coach Izzo's handshake and kind words to me after the game is something I'll never forget in my career. So personally, that was pretty cool.”
The Spartans were led by Cassius Winston’s who had 16 points while playing all 40 minutes. Matt McQuaid had 12 points and Aaron Henry rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11.
Izzo added of the game, “On our National Championship rings, there's a PPTPW -- Players Play, Tough Players Win. Very seldom in my career have we kind of got out beat up, and tonight was one of those nights.”
I asked senior captain Matt McQuaid if there was any comfort in the fact that this team so overachieved and left it all on the court, “Yeah, a little. We wanted to win. We wanted to win a championship. That was our goal. We just didn't shoot good. Texas Tech played really good, and we just couldn't get the win.”
Cassius Winston said of the contest, “It was right about what we expected. We were prepared. They were good at it. They got their hands on a lot of balls. We could have been a lot better, though. I think part of it was us being casual with the basketball or not being strong enough, not executing well enough. We could have did a better job on that part, but their defense was really good also.”
Matt McQuaid said of his long emotional hug with Coach Tom Izzo after the contest, “ He just hugged me and just said, "I'm sorry," and I told him, "I'm sorry," and we just hugged. I got a special relationship with Coach. One thing I'm going to miss the most is, when I get done working out during the day, just going up before class or after class, I come work out, and I go up to his office and talk to him for like five minutes, and we just talk about family or what I need to get better at. We go over stats or film or something. We just -- I love Coach, and he's done so much for me and helped me so much. I know he's got my back, and I've got his back for the rest of our life.”
Izzo added of the exchange with McQuaid, “I think any coach, the relationships they have, their years last four, but the relationships hopefully last 20, 30, 40. Matt will play some basketball yet. He's got a couple of opportunities in some things. The kid gave me everything. Like I said, I coined the phrase with him and Josh Langford, some kids like it, some kids love it, and some kids live it. He's a guy that lived it, you know.”
The Spartans shot a mediocre 32% from the field including an unattractive 29% from the three. The Spartans shot a disappointing 78% from the free throw line. The Spartans had six assists on 15 baskets.
The Spartans won the battle of the boards 36-30. The Spartans had a frustrating 11 turnovers for the contest.
Izzo played nine players including four of his five freshmen.
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