November 22, 2009

Izzo ties mentor for most wins in Michigan State history

EAST LANSING - Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reached a milestone on Sunday. With Michigan State's 90-60 win over Valpraiso in the Legends Classic, Izzo tied his mentor Jud Heathcote for the most wins at Michigan State with 340.

Ironically, Izzo tied Heathcote's coaching mark on the same day his former boss is being inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame along with Spartan icon Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

"I swear to you I didn't know exactly what number (I was at)," said Izzo. "I think Gus (Ganakas) brought that to my attention this morning. Records are made to be broken and this one is only tied. But I guess it means a lot to me because it proves that I withstood some time challenges. I think it will make Jud feel good in that his hand-picked successor is the one that at least tied his record. It isn't something I was thinking about, but it is kind of ironic."

The No. 2 ranked Spartans not only gave their coach a career milestone, but they did so in a manner that gave Izzo reason to smile. Michigan State's performance against Valpraiso was dramatically different than the lackluster showing the Spartans brought to the court in a double-digit win over Toledo just days earlier.

"I think the one thing that I learned from Jud, that I learned from my dad, that I learned from the great football guys that I have watched," said Izzo, "is that people need to be held accountable. It is not teaching them an X or an O. They have to be held accountable. When you are in a huddle with 15 minutes left an people are saying let's finish the game tonight, let's make sure we don't let up defensively, let's not ruin or field-goal percentage, let's build on this. That means that they heard. I think that makes a coach feel better than anything there is."

Several Spartans had monster games against Valpo. Delvon Roe reach double figures in scoring for the second straight game. But Roe's ability to corral rebounds was outstanding against Valpo. The sophomore forward finished the game with 17 boards. Roe had 10 rebounds at halftime.

Chris Allen led the team in scoring. The junior wing finished with 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. Allen was 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line.

Kalin Lucas finished with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Durrell Summers scored 10 points and Raymar Morgan scored 9 points.
Morgan started the game and was a key component for the Spartans on defense and in breaking apart the Valpo zone defense.
Michigan State shot 55.2 percent from the field for the game and out-rebounded Valpo 45-31.

Veteran Valpo coach Homer Drew said afterward that Michigan State lived up to their ranking and then some.

"It was a bad time to be playing a game at noon and a bad time to be playing the No. 2 team in the nation," said Drew, "which if they played like that should have a great chance at being No. 1 in the nation. Bad time to play because coach Izzo had gotten their attention over the last game. You just didn't want to be this team on this given day playing Michigan State University. They were tremendously focused and very, very talented group."

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