Harris bounces back with better shooting

Coming off 3 for 20 shooting against Wisconsin, the sophomore netted his first three shots Thursday against Northwestern as he deals with pressing lately, Izzo said.

It took Gary Harris more than 39 minutes against Wisconsin on Sunday to hit a jump shot.

On Thursday, it took less than three minutes. A couple minutes later, a layup went in then a 3-pointer on the next possession for a 3 for 3 start to the game.

With 14 points when all was said and done, the Michigan State sophomore naturally felt better about his performance in MSU's 85-70 win against Northwestern.

"It feels good whenever you shoot it and see a few shots go in," he said. "I definitely didn't go 3 for 20, so I guess I'm pleased with that."

After the 3 for 20 shooting performance in Madison, Wisc., a 6 for 13 showing was a marked improvement. Still, Spartans coach Tom Izzo said there is no question Harris has been struggling and is pressing.

"It's hard," Izzo said. "He had 13 shots. He had some open ones and he made a few, but he's probably not playing like we're used to seeing him play and I think there's no question that he's pressing."

Part of the pressing, Izzo said, is coming from outside pressures such as the NBA – and social media, as Izzo made known Tuesday.

But the coach said Harris has the toughness and smarts to get through it.

"He'll deal with the pressure - it's okay to have some on you," Izzo said. "He's going to have more pressure than this someday, so he better figure it out. He'll do okay.

"I'm not worried about Gary."

That lack of worry was evident when Harris passed up a 3-pointer in the second half, took a dribble inside the line and hit a midrange jumper. Izzo was visibly excited about the shot, and Harris said he must have just been happy to see him hitting shots again.

"He loves when I shoot the midrange anyway," Harris said. "He wants to see me shoot it more. He's just happy I hit the shot."

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