Costello: "It's Michigan, man"

Michigan State center has big showing late in Sunday's win against Michigan, blocking shots and scoring four points in overtime.

Normally a more reserved person, Matt Costello had a big display of emotion before Michigan State tipped off with Michigan on Sunday.

It was that show of emotion that made Denzel Valentine an indication of how much the game meant to Costello.

”I never seen the look that he gave me before the game,” Valentine said. “He came up to me and he pushed me and I was like, ‘Hey, Matt.’

”I have never seen that look from him and I was like, ‘He is ready to play’ and he showed it.”

It was a simple reason for Costello, who said the pregame chest bump and push came because “It’s Michigan, man.”

”We were down 2-3, Zel and I. 2-3 in the series,” Costello said. “It’s Michigan. I don’t wanna lose to Michigan.”

He did not do that as he played a big part in the 76-66 overtime win, evening his record against Michigan at 3-3.

After having just four rebounds and no points in eight first-half minutes, Costello was key down the stretch. He posted 10 points, three rebounds and four blocks in the second half and overtime.

He said the showing came from stopping thinking and just playing.

“Not always thinking all the time and trying to do the right thing,” he said. “Just playing and I know I can play basketball. So when you play, it just works a lot better.”

His second block of the game came with 3:21 left in the game as he swatted a Zak Irvin layup attempt. His third came shortly thereafter as he sent back a layup attempt from Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman. Junior Bryn Forbes picked up the ball, sending it down the court to Valentine, who tossed it up to Branden Dawson for an alley-oop dunk to tie the game 61-61.

”He’s a really good player, but he’s really underestimated as far as blocking shots,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “He’s not playing over the rim a lot, but he’s got great timing and you don’t see that a lot. A couple of times we got to the rim, he cleaned some things up.

”Those were big plays in the game.”

Early in overtime, he went hard to the hoop and drew the fifth foul on Michigan’s Aubrey Dawkins and hit both free throws. On the next possession, he pulled down an offensive rebound and made a layup to put MSU ahead 72-66 – as they outscored Michigan 10-0 in the overtime.

His final block came as he and Dawson did not communicate when he came into the game on the defensive switches. He found himself matched up on Irvin, who went up to take a 3, but was blocked once again by Costello.

”Coach bas been getting on him about doing his job and tonight, he did his job,” Dawson said. “He rebounded and came up with some defensive stops and some huge blocks for us. He made his free throws.”

With a two-game win streak against Michigan now, Costello can look ahead to Feb. 17 in Ann Arbor as the chance to gain a winning record against the Spartans’ rival.

”It’s a rivalry school and every Spartan wants to leave here with a winning record,” he said. “I’m tied up now. Going to Ann Arbor, gotta make it 4-3.”


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