Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Spartans player Gabe Brown had a heated exchange at halftime of their First Four game Thursday vs. UCLA. Izzo also grabbed Brown’s arm and jersey as they made their way through the tunnel at Purdue’s Mackey Arena.
Izzo was irate after the defense allowed a wide-open buzzer-beating 3-pointer. The full incident:
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TBS’s Allie LaForce reported on air that the Spartans were “able to resolve it” and then began preparing for the second half. Michigan State and UCLA went to overtime in the matchup of 11-seeds after Michigan State let a double-digit lead slip away. UCLA won 86-80.
Izzo told reporters after the game that the exchange was over a missed defensive switch and was “a normal nothing.” He also complained about reporters feeling the need to ask the question after a close game. “You guys are beautiful,” he said.
“We went through this a couple years ago,” he added.
Izzo was referring to the 2019 NCAA Tournament when he and Aaron Henry went at each other on the court. Back then, Izzo gave a similar agitated answer.
“I get a kick out of you guys, get after somebody because you are trying to hold them accountable,” he was quoted as saying. “I don’t know what kind of business you’re in, but I tell ya what, if I was a head of a newspaper, and you didn’t do your job, you’d be held accountable. It’s the way it is.”
Those who have played for Izzo, including Draymond Green — who defended Izzo two years ago — know this is part of the deal in East Lansing.
Typical Michigan State exchange… move on RELAX!
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) March 19, 2021
That was one of the parts of Izzo’s coaching style I respected the most. That situation going into the tunnel was nothing! He allows his players to challenge him and he’s coming right back at you! I bet he was hype after all that 😂💯
— Brandon Wood (@BrandonWood30) March 19, 2021