Izzo wishes speedy recovery to injured Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu
When Michigan State beat No. 5 Illinois on Tuesday night, it was suggested to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo that the game was more like a “street fight” after plenty of physical play, including a flagrant 2 foul on MSU freshman Mady Sissoko that led to his ejection after he hit Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu.
On Thursday, it was revealed Dosunmu had a “facial injury” and would not play in Illinois’ game at home against Nebraska.
Sissoko and Izzo took plenty of heat on social media throughout the day, but after Michigan State beat No. 4 Ohio State, 71-67, on Thursday night for its second straight win over a top-five team, Izzo opened his postgame news conference talking about the incident that knocked one of the top players in the country out for a least a game.
“I think I’ll start out with know how sorry I felt for Ayo Dosunmu,” Izzo said. “I did talk to (Illinois coach) Brad (Underwood) when I found out. I actually talked to the kid and Mady texted him. Mady is one of my best kids, as everybody knows. That (game) was a war and it had nothing to do with him, but hopefully, he'll recover quickly because he's one of the best players in this league and one of the great guy's, kids in this league, so I'll just leave it at that. But that was taken care of.”
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Illinois beat Nebraska, 86-70, on Thursday without Dosunmu but close the season with three straight road games against Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State as it makes a final push for the Big Ten title. The Fighting Illini hope to have Dosunmu back for those games.
“Ayo is eager to play,” Underwood said in a statement. “We are hopeful for his return to our lineup.”
Michigan State’s game with Illinois on Tuesday was physical, and the meeting with Ohio State on Thursday was similar. There were no flagrant fouls, but it was another physical battle, one that didn’t sit well with Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann when it came to his relationship with the officials.
The Buckeyes coach was hit with a technical foul in the first half for complaining to the referees and picked up a second technical foul with one second left in the game and was ejected.
“Give them credit,” Holtmann said. “They played more physical, played with more force. It's my fault on the technicals.”
The first technical came early when Holtmann thought Buckeyes big man E.J. Liddell drew a foul that was not called.
“I think in that moment, honestly, I just thought plays that were normally called fouls in most of every Big Ten game were not being called fouls,” Holtmann said. “I thought that was an obvious one and expressed that. Certainly, you want to fight for your guys. E.J.'s a really good player. He also has to own the fact that he's got to play with more force if this is how the game's going to be called.
“We've got to prepare him for that better. Obviously, we didn't quite prepare him well enough for it. We're always going to fight for our guys. We're going to fight for what we believe is right, not just for any other reason than I thought it was a foul and I thought E.J. deserved the call.”
Michigan State junior guard Foster Loyer missed his third straight game with a left shoulder injury.
… The Spartans win two in a row over top-five Big Ten teams for the first time in program history.