November 29, 2013

MSU coasts without Harris, and starters coming off the bench

EAST LANSING - No. 1 Michigan State (7-0) pounded Mount St. Mary's (2-6) 98-65 with Gary Harris in street clothes, and the trio of Keith Appling,
Branden Dawson, and Adreian Payne.

Appling, Dawson, and Payne entered the game after watching the first five minutes from the bench, as a result of missing a class earlier in the week according to Tom Izzo.

"I've got a lot of jobs in this job," said Izzo. "One of them is to graduate guys, and one of them is to make sure that we stay accountable. It was just a minor little thing. It was over a class that they needed to be at and were told they needed to be at. They just decided to try their way. Their way didn't work."

Harris, the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year, wanted to play but was held out of the game by Izzo, who believes time off will enable Harris to return to 100 percent from a re-aggravated ankle injury in time for Michigan State's ACC-Big Ten Challenge game with North Carolina.

"I made that choice the day before I had to make the other one," Izzo said. "He wanted to play. He is fine, it is just that his ankle has plateaued a little bit and just doesn't feel quite as comfortable. Not many times do you get a six, eight, 10 day rest. We have this period from last Saturday to this Wednesday with one game. I thought that if I could keep him out of the game and get that thing 100 percent, a lot like I did with (Mateen) Cleaves when I should have played him against Wright State. Instead, I didn't and had one of the biggest upsets in college basketball.

"I have done some dumb things before but this was a smart thing for his future, my future, our team's future."

Izzo said that the ankle injury is the same one Harris had during the summer. He expects Harris to start against North Carolina next Wednesday.

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