"Tonight we won with some grit against a team that played with some grit as well," stated Coach Tom Izzo.
There was nothing pretty about it but it was one of those games that brought out the toughness in both teams. Coach Izzo was just happy to see his team standing taller when the dust settled. Chris Allen led the Spartans with 16 points.
"That was a tough game to play in. I told (Wisconsin head coach) Bo (Ryan) afterward that I didn't know if we both played bad, if we both played good, or if we both just played tough," said a relieved Izzo.
"It was basically two teams that really went after each other. I don't know about you but I'm just sore from watching," added Ryan.
In a classic Big Ten slugfest, it comes down to the basics, like rebounding, and that is where Izzo's team excelled at, out rebounding the Badgers 41-27. A big part of that was the job the Spartan guards did on the glass, especially Durrell Summers who was held scoreless but contributed in the win with a team high eight rebounds.
Michigan State held a 44-41 lead with 5:25 left to play and that is when the Spartans turned it up a notch defensively and were rewarded a pair of fast break lay-ups to get some breathing room, in a game that saw very few transition baskets.
A pull up jumper by Kalin Lucas gave the Spartans a 49-41 lead with two minutes to play and the Spartans were then able to close out the Badgers at the charity stripe.
One trick that Izzo had up his sleeve that Bo Ryan could not counter back with was the fire power of Draymond Green off the bench. Green continues to excel off the bench and his ability to score and pass is making him arguably the Spartans top playmaker.
"He is about as good of a passing big man that I have had," added Izzo.
Green finished with 11 points and three assists. Chris Allen led Michigan State with 16 points as Lucas added 10 points.
There were also some recruits in town to take in the win. Future Spartan Russell Byrd was in the house along with recruits Trey Zeigler of Mount Pleasant, Saginaw's Tommie McCune, and Lansing Eastern's LaDontae Henton.