WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo speaks to the media following Purdue’s 77-61 victory over the Spartans on Sunday at Mackey Arena.
He had high praise for the No. 1-seeded Boilermakers, coach Matt Painter and star center Zach Eddy, who recorded a career-high 38 points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds. Here’s everything Izzo had to say about Purdue, including the full video of his postgame press conference.
Itso: I thought this was our most disappointing defensive performance all year. We just didn’t do a good job. If one player gets 70 points in two games, you can’t blame your players for that. You have to blame the coach.
We tried to do different things. We were trying to duplicate it with different people and they were hitting three’s right away. But the threes didn’t hurt us much, there were seven of them with a lot of open looks.
I thought we just couldn’t cover it. We couldn’t cover it. He goes in there and is physical. You can’t push it out. I was a bit disappointed with this. And then he played before halftime.
Give them credit, their four guys had 23 points and we had almost none. [Ethan] Morton, he gets six. [Brandon] Newman, he gets three. [David] Jenkins played well. I thought Jenkins did a good job for them, he gets 11. That was a big deal. And [Trey] Kaufman hits four, that’s 20-some points between those four.
I thought that was the difference. We did a decent job [Fletcher] Loyer. Great player and I thought – he hits those three very late. Otherwise, what does it end up with? Nine. So we did a decent job [Braden] Smith.
But like I said about Matt’s team and I’ll say it again, it’s the best coaching role, in my opinion, in the nation. [Caleb] First is a hell of a player and barely hits a shot, playing his role to the nth degree. Very, very, very good at it.
We got it down to 10. At halftime they hit the three because – I don’t know – I guess it was a good charge. I don’t think employees make bad decisions. We’re going for the last shot and we can get it down to 15 or 14. Instead, they hit a three and I got a technical for questioning something.
And that’s five points. So it’s really a seven-point swing, two we don’t get, three they hit and the technical. That’s seven points, and Purdue is too good a team to take seven-point swings.
I give credit to my team, we recovered. We played. We had four possessions at the end when they had a 10-point lead, we kicked it out of bounds once, we traveled once. We didn’t even get a hit when we got it down to 10. I think that was the game over.
Edey played very well. They did an incredible job of getting him the ball.
On what Zach Eddy does well for Purdue
Itso: He doesn’t kick much. It’s so deep because you can’t force it out. Had a couple of assists, one inside. He just understands it so deeply and Maddy [Sissoko] at 6’9″, 225 is a few inches behind. He’s hard to outrun and hard to do.
Like I said, my writers, we have people who want to double it and give up threes, and then we have people who want not to give up threes. And we tried both and neither worked today. Give them credit.
On how Zach Eddy orchestrated his own 8-0 run in the first half
Itso: What has he done? Be bigger than any player I’ve coached against and more skilled with your hands than any player I’ve coached against. And they do a great job of getting him the ball.
I don’t know what he did, they don’t call for three seconds and he can turn you down, but there’s not much you can do about it. I don’t think this is always correct, but we tried to double it from several places and sometimes fell asleep. Something we don’t do a lot. Sometimes he just got over it.
When you play a game like that and he has 12 free throws, they foul three times at the end to make it five fouls, I think. So they don’t foul a lot, I guess, and that was a big difference in the game as well.
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For encouraging Maddy Sissoko to do his best against Zack Eddy
Itso: Well, I wouldn’t say the best we can. We had some plans that we had, and one of Maddie’s things was when somebody shoots, he just goes to it and doesn’t get a rebound. He was just rolling, and Zach is pretty good at using his body to frame you, and when he’s six, seven inches bigger than you, he’s good. He’s really good at it.
I don’t think he should completely shrug. Some of that was at our expense. Some of it was on him. But I also think part of it is that the guy had a hell of a game. He’s a good player and give Matt credit, they went to him.
What did I tell him? Keep fighting. Keep fighting, I got it.
On the evidence he sees showing Purdue benefiting from players in specific roles
Itso: If I were to be honest, I’d say it’s with every man. They know they have to ride a horse and the horse gets a lot of touches. And some people would envy that or get upset about that.
I mean, Fletcher Loyer can get you 25. It doesn’t seem to bother him that he’s had four shots for most of the game. He took a deuce in the end. Smith got some big plays, that doesn’t bother him.
The real one is Caleb Furst. Great kid and makes two strikes. But he’s just doing his job. They pass it and do it. It’s easier and someone in my media group would say why not do it? When on the day you can stop anywhere this side of the equator and throw the ball in the air and this monster will go get it, it makes it a little bit easier. Seriously.
I `m not joking. When we had Miles Bridges, if you just lobbed, it didn’t have to be a good lob. It didn’t have to be a decent lob, it could have been a terrible lob and he would have saved the day. Edey is even better than that in those respects.
I just think the fact that there’s no jealousy, at least it doesn’t seem like there is. Some of those guys were scorers like Newman or even [Mason] Gillis. It’s easier when you’re 22-1 or whatever. It’s easier, but I think Matt finished his whole career here.
If I have to give him credit, yes, he runs a lot of good things offensively, he’s a good defensive coach, but I think he puts his players in position and doesn’t allow any deviations. And I have a lot of respect for that.
On what it means to see Matt Painter succeed at Purdue
Itso: This is special treatment here. I’m still talking to Jean [Keady] occasionally he still calls. Jean, Jude [Heathcote], Bruce Weber, Matt, Me. Bruce, Matt and Tom, I don’t deserve a lot of credit today, but 13 years with Jude I deserve a hell of a lot of credit.
Matt played for Gene and then coached with him, he deserves a lot of credit. But I think we all learned a lot from those guys as well. I think these guys are still special. I tried to maintain the Michigan State program with some sense of discipline and things that my mentor sent me with. And I think Matt did the same.
I’m probably as mean as my boss. Matt’s a little more laid back, although when you win 22 games, I’ve always said Mike Krzyzewski can sit there looking like Pope John III on the bench because they win a lot of games.
I think he has that fine line between discipline and understanding with his players. He’s done a great job here, I hope people appreciate the work he’s done. I think they do, watching the arena today.
It’s nice, and our arena was amazing this year as well. This should have been a much closer game if you ask me, but they made sure it wasn’t, and to their credit.
Related stories about Purdue Basketball
- Zach Eddy scores 38 points as Purdue dominates Michigan State: Junior center Zach Eddy scored 38 points as the Boilermakers defeated the Spartans on Sunday at Mackey Arena. Purdue led by double digits throughout the second half, leading by as many as 20 points. PRESS HERE
- Purdue, Michigan Live Blog: No. 1 ranked Purdue basketball took on Michigan State on Sunday at Mackey Arena for the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Relive the action with our live blog. PRESS HERE
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