Post Game Quotes from Izzo, Weber

MSU's <B>Alan Anderson </b> skies for a rebound, but his effort was not enough to stop the hot shooting Illni. <BR>"By far, the better team won, and I think this team really has a chance. I think they have the ingredients to win a national championship --MSU Coach Tom Izzo on the Illinois Fighting Illni basketball team.

Head Coach Tom Izzo - Michigan State

On the game overall:

"It is a little hard for me to figure out. I was a little disappointed in the way we guarded, but I was also extremely impressed with the way they (Illinois) shot. I thought that barrage in the first half was as good as I've seen in a long, long time. I really like that team. I like the way they play. I like the way they keep their composure.

"I thought we had a couple of chances when we came back. We started the second half and we just didn't make some of the plays we needed to make. Turnovers weren't in abundance (13 total), but they were ones that seemed to lead to lay-ups and breakaways."

On the play of Illinois' backcourt:

"I thought Dee Brown (18 pts., 5 rebounds, 3 steals) was about as efficient as a guy could be. Those threes he hit, some of them from long, long range, and he converted four lay-ups off of plays. And Deron Williams (14 pts. and 5 assists) deserves every bit he gets; so unselfish, so under control. They're just a very good basketball team, and yet I thought we had our chances."

On the Spartan's comeback efforts: "We had some open shots, starting with Chris (Hill) and KT in the first half, but we just didn't make them. There were some lay-ups we missed, and against a great team you can't afford to do that. Illinois is a great team.

"When we came back at the end, we didn't make some plays and we just kind of panicked. With about 3:30 left, we had the ball and we were seven down. Things were going our way, but we just didn't execute like we should have. The blame goes to us for not checking well enough, and the credit goes to them because, even with that, they made some incredible shots."

On Illinois' overall:

"By far, the better team won, and I think this team really has a chance. I think they have the ingredients to win a national championship; I don't want to put that on their backs because there are so many other things on their backs, but as Bobby Knight once told me about my team after we beat them, `you've got a real chance to win it,' and that was the year we won (1999-2000). I think if this team stays healthy, they have a real chance to make a serious run, just because of the character of their players and the skill they have."

Head Coach Bruce Weber - Illinois

On the game:

"I talked a lot to the team about not being the favorites and kind of challenged them. Here you are, ranked No. 1 in the country, and I understand they are a good team and all, but you want motivation. Right now, our kids have a great competitive spirit, a huge will to win, and they feel good about themselves."

On the play of Illinois' top players: "When you have Deron (Williams) shooting the ball that way (9-14 FG's), along with Luther Head (12-24) and Dee Brown (10-19), along with James Augustine (4-4), who has really picked up his play since the Big Ten season started, we are tough to defend.

"Our defense worked pretty well, but I think Tom (Izzo) did a good job of disrupting our trap several times. I think the only big things that hurt us were the rebounding (MSU 29-27), and few times that they beat us in transition."

On Illinois' shooting:

"In the first half, we did an excellent job of hitting the shot from the outside, but I thought getting the ball inside would be the key in the second half. And I thought that we did a good job of getting the ball to the big guys, as well as making tight curl cuts, which I spoke to them about. We just played with a lot of poise and confidence."

On the key point of the game:

"I thought the key point of the game was in the second half when they came out and made the run, and we came right back to get it into double digits again. That kind of quieted the crowd and got some doubt in their minds a little bit. Then, we just finished the job."

On the Illinois' squad overall:

"In the huddle, they kept talking about trying to get the lead up to 15 points, then 20 points. They (Michigan State) are good, a top 10 team. It isn't like we are playing a bunch of patsies or something. Our boys played with a lot of heart and listen well. Our bench also played with a lot heart, especially in the first half. They defended and shot well. All-in-all, it was just a great team effort."

Michigan State Player Quotes

Alan Anderson

On Illinois offense: "They shot really well tonight. We had a couple of foolish turnovers that led to uncontested lay-ups. They shot well in both halves, and it's tough to win when an opponent shoots like that."

On rebounding from the loss and looking to Iowa: "We've got Iowa next and they almost won at Illinois. It's going to be another tough game. We've got to get up, get ready and get focused. We've got some things we need to work on now, in order to get ready for Iowa. This is a tough loss, though."

Paul Davis

On the Spartans' performance: "There were some things that we did wrong. They were getting shots and if we had been there in time to defend, I'm sure they wouldn't have made all of them. They were hot, and it was like there was nothing we could do about that."

On Illinois' second half explosion: "That is where we have to get that one extra stop. It was lay-ups and threes and that is when we have to bear down and get that stop. It didn't happen tonight and that is why we lost."

On refocusing toward Iowa: "We have to put all of our focus toward Iowa. Regardless of their record, they are a great team, and we know that going down to their place it is going to be crazy. It will be another test for us, and one we have to pass."

Spartan Nation Top Stories