Costello steps up despite illness

Sophomore center draws praise for play against North Carolina as he fights off what could be mono

Michigan State might not have put together a strong performance against North Carolina on Wednesday, but that didn't stop one player from impressing Tom Izzo.

Sophomore Matt Costello, who was held out of the starting lineup with what was said to be the flu, earned the most postgame praise from the Spartans coach.

"I wasn't even going to play him and he probably played as hard as anybody on our team, and I give him probably the most credit," Izzo said.

After the game, Izzo said it is possible Costello has a slight case of mono.

The sophomore center said he has been fighting off an illness since the Spartans played in Brooklyn a couple weeks ago and will probably be tested for mono Thursday.

"It's been a while and we're trying to get on top of it," he said. "I was dumb and didn't tell the coaches I was feeling bad because I didn't really want to make an excuse but now it's a priority to take care of it."

On Wednesday, though, Costello made the most of his 17 minutes having six points, four rebounds and four blocks – including a stretch with a dunk and a big block at the other end as the Spartans closed out the first half strong.

"I did my job when I went out there until I started getting tired in the end and playing like crap," he said. "The first little bit was good. It felt good. I was just mad we couldn't pull it out."

Following the dunk and block, Costello let out a big shout and showed more emotion than is usually seen from the Bay City native.

"Most of the time when my back's up against the wall, I swing," he said. "That was my swinging, I guess."

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