Tom Izzo reflects on loss to Duke, season of ups and downs

INDIANAPOLiS, Ind. (WXYZ) - Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo opened up about the Spartans season, battling through injuries and what Gary Harris learned in the team's loss to Duke Friday night.

On his 1-8 record against Duke:

"This was a dream game for me, it really was, I'm just sorry that we didn't perform a little better. You die to be in these kind of games. It doesn't feel good to be 1-8 against Duke but I think a lot of those times they had better teams and a couple of those times I thought we were as good and they still beat us.

"I don't know if that's called they've got your number or they're just better coached, better played, whatever they did, but it's still my pursuit and I will pursue it.  You just wish the game was a little bit better than what it was in the second half.  We cut it down to four a couple of times but just couldn't get over the hump and that was disappointing."

On this loss hanging with him:

"I think it's going to hang with me forever because I think this was our chance to play a very, very good team, a very talented team and we didn't play as good, you know. Probably all of us let some things get to us a little bit and so I'll hopefully learn from that and continue this pursuit of getting back to where I'd like to get back to."

On what Gary Harris can take from the experience of playing Seth Curry and Duke:

"Well we're going to find out. It's not his fault. He made some shots that were great and I thought Gary had a hard time covering Seth the way it was being called. I thought he had a very hard time covering him. A lot of people would have had a hard time. But on the other side, 2 for 11, he probably had his worst game on both ends for a freshman.

"I don't know if it was the pressure of being home, the pressure of the tournament, but I love the kid.  He's been so good. He's been so good this year on both ends of the court.  He's going to grow and learn from this, that's what you do. That's why this tournament is so brutal.

"But that's why, as we laughed about my poor son who's taken a beating this week (about picking Duke to beat MSU), when I asked him at the end, 'Why?' He said, 'Well Dad, they have three seniors,' and I kind of laughed and I said that's the way you look at it and those two fifty-year seniors I thought really did a good job.  We did a pretty good job on everybody else but Curry was Curry."

On his team's consistency this year:

"One way we'll get more consistent is if we keep Harris healthy, if we keep Trice healthy, if we keep Dawson healthy.  That's not an excuse, but let me tell you something… this team went a long, long way.  We had a lot of adverse things that happened with those injuries and we could never get going to the level I think we could have got going.  

"Yet, it was an incredible year. The reason it was an incredible year was the teams we played. It's hard to get things going when we played the toughest schedule in the Big Ten and everybody should know that and better know that. We had the top teams and because of that you don't get any time to get a little better at something. You're constantly fighting for survival.

"There's a reason our schedule is ranked one or two in the country. Because of that, I'll be very disappointed about tonight, I'll be ticked off about a few things, I'll be bummed out about a few things when I watch the film, but I will not be disappointed in what this team accomplished this year under the circumstances of some injuries, of the schedule. I'll be proud of this team.  Maybe as proud as any team I've had here."
 

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