Michigan State got off to a hot start shooting but too many empty offensive possessions and too much JaQuan Lyle for Ohio State led to a 72-67 loss on the road Sunday afternoon.
The Spartans led 15-7 early after making their first six-field goal attempts, and had a 58-56 lead after a Nick Ward basket with 7:31 left to play, But Ohio State went on a 10-0 run to grab control of the game. Lyle scored the first five points of that run as part of his 22-point game. He made 5 of 7 3-pointers in the game despite having made just 31.3 percent of his 3-pointers entering the game.
The loss drops Michigan State to 12-7 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, while Ohio State (11-7, 1-4) got its first Big Ten victory after four straight defeats.
Here’s what Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo had to say after the game:
(From Spartan Sports Network postgame radio show)
On the game
“Very disappointed. Very, very disappointed. I just thought that a couple of things happened. We got off to a great start. Nick Ward really struggled today. I don’t know if it’s coming back home or what. And then give them credit. They’ve got guys shooting 20 and 21 percent from (behind the 3-point line) making 3s. (Lyle) is shooting 30 percent, and that’s what happens. That’s the beauty of the 3-point shot. … We just didn’t guard as well, and Nick had his worst game as a Spartan.”
On Nick Ward (9 points, 4 rebounds, 4 fouls in 18 minutes)
“My job is to get them ready to play, and for some reason, Nick really had the deer-in-the-headlights look tonight. He hasn’t had that all year. We’re just going to have to keep working at it.”
On Miles Bridges (24 points, 9 rebounds in 32 minutes)
“I think he was very efficient. He did have a couple of turnovers. I thought a couple of those were question marks, but that charge was a big play. It could have been a three-point play. But I thought Miles played awfully well defensively. I love the word you used – efficient. He got nine rebounds in 32 minutes, and I thought did some good things there. Miles continues to get better. But as I continually say, this is a team sport, and if the weak links don’t do their job, we don’t win games. It’s not good enough for one or two guys to play well.”
On the loss
“Give Ohio State credit. They had their backs against the wall. This is not an 0-4 team. They played pretty well, and yet it was a game where I’d like to say we lost more than they won. Consequently, that’s going to be a little harder to swallow.”
(From postgame press conference)
On defensive play
“I thought our step-ups were atrocious. … We weren’t stepping up on those. We did such a great job on those in the last game (vs. Minnesota) when we did do it well. And give Lyle some credit. He hit some shots. He made a couple of long 3s. Listen, this has not been a very good 3-point shooting team, and they hit some shots. But at the same time, as I told my team, as I’ve told you guys, I don’t care what the hell the people in Columbus say, this is a good team. It’s got a lot of experience and played the toughest schedule in the league as far as three road games and Purdue at home.”
On the Spartans’ offense the last few minutes
“We turned it over four times, I think, at the end. Tum (Tum Nairn Jr.) … I thought that was a bad turnover when we were coming up. Nick had the one underneath the basket. We’re down four, and he’s got a layup. The ball goes through his hands, and that was the story of the day.