Ellis has career high in first rivalry game

Freshman hits all four shots he takes against Michigan for a career-high 12 points. He talks about the experience of an "intense" rivalry.

A few days before Michigan State got its season underway, coach Tom Izzo hadn't decided whether or not to redshirt freshman Alvin Ellis.

He saw the potential of having him for a fifth year and the way he could improve and the fact he could help the team right now, it was a thought out decision.

Ultimately, Ellis and his family decided he wanted to play this season. That decision paid off for the Spartans against Michigan.

The freshman had a career-high 12 points, hitting both of his 3-point attempts, including one with 30 seconds left as MSU tried to make a comeback.

"I wasn't even worried about a career high or anything like that," Ellis said. "I just wanted to win the game."

In his first experience in the heated in-state rivalry, Ellis and his teammates fell short to the Wolverines 80-75, but he said he gained understanding of what the game means.

"It was real intense," Ellis said. "I knew it meant a lot to the seniors and juniors and everybody. … I see how much it means to the whole program and alumni coming back to watch this game."

He said playing more minutes and stepping up to the challenge is going to remain a focus moving forward.

"I'm just going to keep stepping up in practice as well," he said. "Whatever coach needs me to and that's being solid and not turning the ball over. Whatever I can do to say on the court and win."

And he will look to come out on the other side when Michigan State goes to Ann Arbor on Feb. 23.

"We let the fans and alumni down," he said, "but we play them again later in the season so we will look forward to that."

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