In a game that nearly ended in disaster, the Michigan State Spartans were able to hold on by the skin of their teeth against the Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Michigan State survived a furious rally by Maryland thanks to some clutch free throws from Max Christie (who led the Spartans in scoring with 16 points) following a missed 3-point attempt from Fatts Russell, earning a 76-72 victory and taking down their opponent for the second time in the last week. But Michigan State did themselves no favors with 16 turnovers (seven alone in the final 2:26 of play) that led to 25 points on the board for Maryland, nearly blowing a 20 point lead.
The Spartans shot 50% while converting nine of 19 attempts from beyond the arc. Gabe Brown contributed 13 points as one of five Spartans who tallied eight or more on the night.
Afterward, head coach Tom Izzo was in classic fashion in his blunt assessment of his feelings.
“For Tom Izzo, I’m fricking angry,” he said, referring to himself in the third person.
However, he walked back that assessment a bit.
“Angry is probably a bad word,” he continued. “Is that in the vocabulary anymore? Are we allowed to be angry anymore? It’s been a problem, and we haven’t solved the problem. We are playing at a higher lever for longer periods of time.”
And you certainly can’t blame Izzo for the final few minutes of the game feeling like an eternity. No doubt Spartans fans across Michigan and the country felt the same way.
“It did feel like that last three minutes was an hour and a half,” he said. “But it wasn’t.”
Michigan State now advances to battle the No. 2 seed Wisconsin Badgers, whom they split their season series with.
– – Quotes via Chris Solari Link – –