MSU Faces Michigan Tech in Last Exhibition

"We'll shoot better, we'll rebound better, we'll defend better, we'll pass better, that's what's going to change on Wednesday," --MICHIGAN STATE HEAD COACH TOM IZZO

On Wednesday night, Michigan State basketball has a chance to make amends for their double-overtime loss last Friday to Grand Valley State as they face Michigan Tech in their second and final exhibition tune-up.

After playing a plethora of different combinations on the court Friday, Tom Izzo said that the team play a lot better and harder than they did against the Lakers, where he claimed that his team got outworked, outrebounded, and outrun in every phase of the game.

"We'll shoot better, we'll rebound better, we'll defend better, we'll pass better, that's what's going to change on Wednesday," said Izzo. "I'll coach better too, but I did what I wanted to do on Friday as far as getting the combinations out on the floor and trying an inbounds play there at the end of the game."

"We have to play better, we will play better, but it will just have to take some time because I am going to play the freshman," added Izzo.

The freshmen were one of the positives for the Spartans from Friday night, as Chris Allen led the team in scoring with 15 points and Kalin Lucas scored 12.

"I just thought I had to step my game up because Drew (Neitzel) wasn't hitting his shots, so I tried to get the team going by setting an example on the court," said Chris Allen.

"I just expect guys to execute better, play harder, play better defense and rebound, that's mainly what we have to do, and we must knock down our free throws," added Allen.

Guard Travis Walton was impressed with the play of the freshman and also believes that the team will stronger against Michigan Tech.

"First of all, we know our freshmen are going to compete," said Walton. "We have to continue to work on our help-side defense, we have to play a lot harder and continue to pressure, we have to help each other out more, there are still going to be kinks we have to work out during the games but we just have to get better as we go."

As for Michigan Tech, the Huskies are coming off a 13-15 year including 8-10 in the GLIAC. They return four starters, with 6-foot-7 senior Tim Strom leading the team in scoring last year with 13.5 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.

Last year, Tech held opponents to 39.6 percent shooting and 61.0 points per game, marking the second straight season the Huskies finished in the top 15 nationally in field-goal percentage defense and scoring defense.

On a down side for MSU, junior power forward Marquise Gray is unlikely to play is he doesn't show improvement with his injured knee. Izzo said he should be ready for the start of the season though on Nov. 13.

Look for Michigan State to come out with a chip on their shoulder, take the lead early and put on a scoring display against the Huskies on Wednesday night. They have a lot to prove after their loss to Grand Valley and this game must be a big step in the right direction for MSU, especially because it is their last game before their season opener.

With such high expectations and a No. 8 national ranking in the polls, the Spartans will get better with every game and practice as Tom Izzo said after practice on Monday.

"We're going to have to earn our keep in the next month and a half, and then going into the Big Ten season you certainly want to be in a good spot in the polls," said Izzo.

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