SPOKANE, Wash. — After beating Delaware by 15 points in the NCAA Tournament, head coach Tom Izzo wasn’t happy about everything.
Yes, his team cruised to a victory on the back of Adreian Payne’s 41 points, but there was something that didn’t sit too well with Izzo — the foul trouble.
For the eighth time this season, MSU allowed their opponent to make at least 30 trips to the free throw line, as the Fightin’ Blue Hens shot 39 freebies on MSU’s 27 fouls in Thursday’s game.
“Obviously, we fouled way too many times (Thursday) night and moving forward in this tournament we’re not going to be able to advance playing the way we did defensively,” senior guard Keith Appling said in Friday’s press conference.
Because of the 27 fouls committed by MSU, nearly all of its post players were in foul trouble. Sophomore guard Gary Harris was also limited to 25 minutes, his second-lowest mark of the season, due to his fouling.
A good portion of Delaware’s offense comes from the free throw line, as they average the nation’s 32nd-highest 26.4 attempts per game. It’s just a part of their winning formula they used throughout the season.
Harvard isn’t too far behind Delaware, as they visit the charity stripe 25.3 times per game.
11 fouls were committed between Harris, Denzel Valentine and Branden Dawson, forcing MSU to trot out its bench players when the trio was in foul trouble. Dawson said the trio was used to being physical in Big Ten play, and they will have to adjust to the officiating quicker next time to keep the foul count low.
“I think we got carried away on defense with our toughness,” Dawson said. “So, I think tomorrow, we have to capitalize on our mistakes from the Delaware game and just play solid.”