Costello, Schilling provide big production

Centers combine for 28 points, 15 rebounds in 101-46 win Friday night to the delight of Tom Izzo

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was so excited about the production of his centers Friday night, he said if he could see the same results repeated, he would be doing cartwheels.

Both Matt Costello and Gavin Schilling – who combined for 28 points and 15 rebounds in the 101-46 win against St. Cloud State – laughed off the idea that Izzo could do a cartwheel.

“No, no, no,” Costello said. “With that hernia and stuff, he can’t. He couldn’t before it.”

The thought was understandable, as Costello and Schilling both would have set career highs had their 13 and 15 points, respectively, come in an official game instead of an exhibition.

”If we could get half that, I would feel good about it,” Izzo said. “Fourteen and 10 would be awesome out of that position.

”I’m feeling more comfortable that we are going to be able do that.”

It is a level of production both feel can be sustained through the season, which could be necessary as the Spartans look to form a consistent lineup built around the trio of Branden Dawson, Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine.

“If we play to our best potential, we will be able to do that and accomplish that goal,” Schilling said. “We just have to focus in and play to our best every game and we will do that.”

For the sophomore Schilling, the jump in his game has stemmed from an increased confidence – and softer hands in the post. Izzo said it was evident on some low catches he made that he has gotten better at receiving the ball in the post.

“One thing I improved on this summer was my feel inside the post and getting more comfortable with the game, within the system, and that’s something I felt comfortable with (Friday night),” he said. “I caught the ball. I dunked it. I felt comfortable out there. My teammates got me going and I’m thankful for that.”

On the other hand, the junior Costello came into Friday night frustrated with himself. He felt he had to be more effective rebounding the ball and set out to do so. The results were there, as he pulled down 10 rebounds, which he said contributed to him having 13 points.

“Literally the only thought in my head was the rebound is mine,” he said. “I don’t care whatever I have to do. …

”Those points came off of just being prepared to go get the rebound, being down and ready to go. … I can still average a double-double. I’m not going to get 25 points, but 15 points, 10 rebounds, that’s pretty good.”

That mentality is something Costello sees as a key for both himself and Schilling moving forward – and something that will impact the team as the season rolls on.

”Every single game I’ve gotta bring it otherwise it’s going to hurt our team – Gavin and I both,” he said. “I’m not going to play 40 minutes a game. I’m not in that good of shape and I’m going to foul out. Both of us need to come in with that mindset and I think that will help this team a lot.”

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