Spartans moving on from loss, head to Iowa

Izzo talks keys to growing from loss and what it will take to take it to another level

Michigan State has faced its share of adversity this season, but not much of that has centered on losing games.

Saturday's loss to Michigan marked just the second loss for the Spartans – and the first in seven weeks.

Senior point guard Keith Appling said the feeling of the loss to their in-state rival hadn't worn off yet Monday, but it can be used for growth.

"It is just one game," Appling said. "It is a long season we just have to get better. The way I felt after that game I never want to feel again.

"We just have to use it for motivation."

Michigan State dropped to 18-2 with the loss, with the other loss coming in early December to North Carolina, but coach Tom Izzo said there are positives he took from the game.

Now, the coach said there are a few keys to how his team responds. Izzo pointed to his team learning from a loss and to do the little things that make a difference – like free-throw shooting.

He also pointed to finding a way to build on the positives and correct the negatives before stressing not letting a loss snowball into more is essential.

"Do we stick to our goals and not get mesmerized by a loss or two and kind of forget and feel sorry for ourselves and all those kind of things?" he said. "Which I don't think we're going to do. I think those will be the keys to moving on.

"We still have room for improvement, there's no question about that."

To build on, Izzo noted the Spartans got contributions from more players – and also "did some of the things (they) needed to do."

But in playing without a pair of starters, the onus is increased on others doing the little things more often and consistently.

"The way I look at this whole thing is, when you're trying to play, when you're playing some of the best teams, you have to play your best," Izzo said. "You've got to have all these intangibles. They've got to be at a different level than just a level to win games."

The first opportunity to improve and get back to winning ways comes against one of the Big Ten's best: No. 15 Iowa.

Sophomore Gary Harris said there is no reason or chance to sulk on a loss as they head to Iowa City.

I don't think it's hard at all (to move on)," Harris said. "We have an opportunity to bounce back quickly to kind of get this taste out of our mouth. Iowa, they're a good team and it's gonna be another battle, another test for us.

"We can't really get down because of the Michigan game because the Iowa game isn't gonna be any easier, especially playing on the road."

With senior leaders like Appling at the helm, the feeling of the loss no longer will be lingering come Tuesday night as MSU looks to get back in the win column.

"I feel like our character on our team is a little different," Appling said. "We have so many different goals that we want to accomplish that we can't let one game bother us.

"We just got to continue pushing and see where the season goes."

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