Spartans "not worthy" in loss to Buckeye

Spartans' head coach Tom Izzo didn't make any excuses. And he didn't want his team to make any excuses, either. After Michigan State was bounced from the Big Ten tournament by Ohio State Saturday afternoon, Izzo commented afterwards that the Spartans' performance was "not worthy of us winning."

Watching his ball club trail by 19 points in the first half, you can probably bet that Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo already had his halftime speech scripted.

"I told them at halftime that they've embarrassed themselves and the University and I really believed that," Izzo said, following his team's 55-54 loss to Ohio State on Saturday. "That's not to the caliber that we need to play or should play."

Although State eventually made it a game -- taking a 51-50 lead on freshman Maurice Ager's three-pointer -- the Buckeyes first-half momentum ultimately carried them to a victory.

Along with a banked-in free throw attempt.

Michigan State shot a season low 15 percent in the first half, making just two of their first 19 attempts.

Izzo commented later: "If we would have won that game, as I told my team, they won't be as good of people or players later on. That was not worthy of us winning."

That might have been proven when Michigan State sent Buckeyes' freshmen forward Charles Bass to the charity strike with under ten seconds remaining in the game.

Attempting the first free throw of his collegiate career, Bass banked in the shot, handing the Buckeyes a one-point lead they would not relinquish.

As Bass missed his second attempt, the Spartans made a critical mistake. Instead of taking a time out, as requested by Izzo, senior forward Aloysious Anagonye grabbed the miss and found sophomore guard Chris Hill streaking down the court.

Hill, who earlier knocked down a three-pointer to knot the contest at 54, missed a running, 13 foot jump shot as time expired.

"Don't anybody question why Chris' last two shots didn't go in because they're not supposed to," Izzo said. "We did not deserve to win that game.

"They deserved to win the game. They outplayed us the entire game."

The Spartans were led by Ager with 15 points, while Chris Hill poured in 12. Ohio State was led by Brent Darby with 23 points.

Despite being knocked out of the conference tournament, the Spartans (19-11, 10-6 Big Ten) will still likely be invited to the NCAA Tournament. The tournament pairings will be announced on Sunday, March 16.

The Spartans harbored a 34 RPI ranking prior to the loss, and were projected as an eighth seed by TheInsiders.com college basketball expert Chris Monter.


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