February 9, 2010

Izzo blames third-straight loss on poor defense

EAST LANSING - Michigan State badly needed a win at the Breslin Center after back-to-back losses on the road against Big Ten contenders Illinois and Wisconsin. Instead, the Spartans suffered their third straight conference loss.

No. 6 Purdue used red-hot start aided by leaky Spartan defense to pull out a 76-64 win over the No. 10 Spartans. The Boilermakers shot 65 percent in the first half. Purdue's first half included 10 made 3-pointers.

"To beat Michigan State, you have to put yourself in a position to do that," said Purdue coach Matt Painter. "We did that."

Izzo was disappointed with the defensive effort of his team. The Michigan State coach put starter Durrell Summers on the bench the entire second half. Michigan State did a better job defending the 3-point shot in the second half.

Izzo said that Michigan State's lack of effort played a significant role in the team's setback against Purdue. The Spartan coach said that he was impressed with the atmosphere at the Breslin Center. Izzo said that the crowd was one of the best that he has seen in the last few years.

With the loss, Michigan State finds itself in a first-place tie atop the Big Ten at 9-3. Purdue and Ilinois are also tied with the Spartans. Michigan State is now 19-6 overall.

Michigan State trailed by 14-points at halftime after Robbie Hummel buried a triple at the buzzer. The Spartans fought back in the second half and pulled within three points on a step-back 3-pointer from Chris Allen.

Purdue responded with a huge 3-pointer from E'Twaun Moore, who led all scorers with 25 points. Moore shot 8-of-14 from the floor.

"Moore hit a tough shot behind a ball screen," said Izzo, "that's what they do. Give credit to Moore, he made a tough shot. He took a tough shot."

Michigan State struggled shooting the basketball. Several Spartans missed shots they usually make with ease. Forwards Draymond Green and Raymar Morgan struggled to make routine plays. Morgan's missed dunk in the second half was an exclamation point on a frustrating shooting performance.

"Draymond had an uncharacteristic bad shooting night," said Izzo, "but I like the effort that he played with."

Green was 1-of-13 from the floor.

Allen had his second straight outstanding shooting performance. Allen led the Spartans with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting. The junior from Georgia was 4-of-7 from behind the arc.

Lucas came off the bench for the Spartans in his first game back from the sprained ankle he suffered in Madison. The Spartan captain was less than 100 percent, but he still managed to spark his team at times. Lucas scored 12 points. Eight of those points came at the free-throw line.


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