When Michigan State lost to Illinois at home on Feb. 7, it brought about questions about the NCAA Tournament bubble and free-throw shooting. All-in-all, the assessment from the Spartans was they just weren’t playing well.
“We got backed into a wall,” junior Matt Costello said. “None of us are losers. None of us are little babies. If we get backed into a wall, we come out swinging.
”I feel like we did that against Northwestern, Ohio State and Michigan and now that our back is out of the wall, we gotta keep playing.”
For the Spartans, this is the type of basketball they expected to be playing all season with the lineup they have. It just took a little time to put together and now stye have another shot at Illinois on
“We should have been playing this way in the beginning,” senior Branden Dawson said. “I think we are starting to find ourselves now as a team. Chemistry is starting to come together. Just don’t count us out yet. We still have a chance.”
One of the keys for MSU has been getting Dawson, senior Travis Trice and junior Denzel Valentine clicking at the same time. Coach Tom Izzo deemed those three as MSU’s new “big three” before the season, stressing their play would dictate a lot for the Spartans.
With Dawson posting double-doubles seemingly every game, Trice coming off the bench and thriving and Valentine stepping up his game of late, it has been key in the Spartans making a run recently and climbing in the Big Ten.
Trice said it feels good to be playing their best basketball at crunch time with March looming.
”Better late than never, especially with the way we were playing early on.” senior Travis Trice said. “This is the right time to get rolling, heading into the tournament and toward the end of the season. It’s good we’re getting clicking now.”