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Finally, an adult in the room: Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reveals why he called late time out at Indiana

Jim Comparoni01/24/23
Article written by:On3 imageJim Comparoni

JimComparoni

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East Lansing, Mich.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo received some boos from Hoosier fans when he called time out with :12 seconds remaining in Sunday’s 82-69 loss at Indiana. During Tuesday’s press conference, Izzo was asked about that time out, and he revealed an interesting answer.

Izzo saw during the game that three of his players were involved in short verbal sparring with Indiana players, with some chippy shots sewn in by the Hoosiers. 

Izzo was asked if he called time out to make the pain of losing resonate with his players as a lesson. Izzo said that wasn’t the mission. He called the time out to make sure nothing escalated.

“It was more to remind my players on how we played and how we didn’t,” Izzo said, “and it was also to tell them at the end of the game – because I thought some of them were getting a little bit riled when somebody said something in their face –  I said ‘I don’t want one issue in the handshake line.’ 

“So yeah, there was a mission to it when all those people booed for calling a time out. Some for future, some for present and some because I enjoy getting booed once in awhile. It’s awesome.”

Michigan State center Mady Sissoko was one of the subjects of Izzo’s concern.

With 16:16 left in the first half, Indiana’s Miller Kopp shoulder-checked Sissoko while Sissoko was running in transition. The blow knocked Sissoko to the floor. 

Sissoko, a junior from Mali, West Africa, stood up and confronted Kopp about the contact. Kopp stood his ground, stepped nose-to-nose with Sissoko and yelled at him while Kopp extended his arms out in defiance. 

Officials reviewed the video at courtside and tagged Kopp with a flagrant one technical foul. Sissoko hit both free throws which gave Michigan State a 9-8 lead.  

“My guys didn’t back down but I didn’t appreciate some of the things that happened, including that first one,” Izzo said after the game. “I didn’t appreciate that one. That’s okay.”

Senior forward Joey Hauser and Indiana forward Jordan Geronimo were tagged with double technicals after getting tangled up under the rim with 17:13 left in the first half. 

Geronimo gave Hauser a shoulder as the two tangled beneath the rim. Geronimo continued to make contact with Hauser’s left arm after the whistle. Hauser flipped Geronimo’s arm out of the way and both were called for a technical.

Izzo was asked after the game if he likes a game with that kind of edginess.

“We didn’t have enough bodies to throw that edge in place and really get after somebody,” he said. “I thought it was one of the more physical games. In these six games in 16 days that we have played, we have played maybe the most physical teams in the league in Purdue, everybody knows Rutgers is, and Indiana is a physical team. So we learned a little bit.”

COMP’S TAKE:

Izzo did a good job of being the adult in the room and reminding his players to behave with good sportsmanship after a game, win or lose – something that other big-name college coaches in the state of Michigan should learn from, but assuredly won’t.