February 13, 2013

Izzo: 'our best game in three years'

EAST LANSING - Tom Izzo has been waiting all season for his team to put together a complete game.

No. 8 Michigan State (21-4, 10-2) did just that in a 75-52 thrashing of No. 4 Michigan.

"I'm very proud of my team and my staff," said Izzo. "We did an excellent job of preparing for the different things we wanted to do. Keep it in perspective that we probably played our best game in three years and they probably played one of their worst. They missed shots and things just didn't fall for them."

Michigan State outscored its in-state rival 36-22 in the paint thanks to a dominant performance by center Derrick Nix, who finished with 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting with five rebounds and three assists.

But the 6-foot-9, 270-pound senior's biggest contribution may have been on helping contain Michigan point guard Trey Burke.

"Our whole premise was to try and keep it out of the paint," said Izzo, "and Derrick Nix did a great job on those ball screens."

Michigan State played its third straight game with fewer than 10 turnovers.

"The stats that matter most to me are turnovers," Izzo said. "They had 16 and we had eight which is very unlike them."

Izzo was pleased with his team's perimeter defense, which helped Michigan to six triples on 19 tries.

"I said before the game if we can keep them to six, seven or eight threes and not 11, 12 or 13 we have a chance," said Izzo.

The Spartans outrebounded Michigan 41-30. Michigan State finished with a 14-6 edge on the offensive glass.

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