Bankers Life Fieldhouse
#2 Michigan State is 27-5 and eight wins away from their accomplished goal of winning a Big Ten Tournament and NCAA crown this season. So while Ohio State lies in their wake after another crushing defeat to the men in green, the Spartans saw one very big development in that win.
Deyonta “DD” Davis was one of the most sought after big men in the 2015 basketball recruiting class. The quiet youngster is a star.
While the Spartans started slow last night, they needed more from him. Not just to beat the Buckeyes, but to reach their nine win post season goal.
Izzo said he addressed challenging him, “We challenged DD (Deyonta Davis) at halftime. I challenge guys all the time, and I love to see a young guy respond. And he really did. He did some good things.”
Even team star and captain Denzel Valentine had high praise for the youngster, “Deyonta Davis, he was really good in the second half. He was blocking shots, talking, being around the rim on offense. He was great for us in the second half and led to us getting that lead.”
In just 22 minutes of play the pride of Muskegon had 12 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two assists. He dominated the paint for the Spartans.
Even Ohio State head coach Thad Matta praised his development from where he was earlier this year to where he is today. “He was saving it for tonight because he hasn't done -- I won't say a whole lot against us, but tonight he was finishing. That's the kid I saw in high school. A tremendous player. Very, very active and just really did a nice job.”
It was Davis ability to not just put the ball in the hoop, but on the defensive end that propelled the Spartans. His defensive intensity was nowhere to be seen earlier in the season, but he has embraced it now. He loves it and it is that reason why he is being projected as an NBA lottery pick next season, should he choose to leave early.
Michigan State will face one of the most talented groups of players in the nation in Maryland. Far from the best team, they are the most talented. Not only do I feel that way about the depth of Maryland talent, but so does Izzo.
The Spartans game vs. Maryland is today at 3:30 right back here in Indianapolis at the semifinals for the Big Ten Tournament. That game can be seen on CBS!