Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has never been one to sugarcoat his true feelings, and he's becoming increasingly frustrated with his team despite back-to-back blowout victories.
The 19th-ranked Spartans look to clean up their play while earning a 70th consecutive home victory over an unranked non-conference opponent while they host Loyola of Chicago on Saturday.
Michigan State (7-2) bounced back from a loss at Miami on Nov. 28 by committing only eight turnovers in an 84-39 rout of Nicholls State last Saturday. Its spotty play returned Wednesday, though, when it finished with 19 turnovers in a 76-44 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Despite the Spartans holding Pine Bluff scoreless for nearly the first 10 minutes, they missed nine of their first 10 shots and seemed to play with a lack of discipline.
"Missing good shots and turning the ball over kind of made me not appreciate our defense,'' Izzo said after Pine Bluff shot only 27.8 percent.
That was about the nicest thing Izzo had to say about his team, which ranks last in the Big Ten at 15.3 turnovers per game. He was visibly upset at his players during timeouts and made it clear following the game they need to play harder.
"I need somebody to show some emotion,'' Izzo said. "If it's not what they want to do, this is not the right place for them.
"If we play as sloppy as we did, we're going to get punched right in the mouth.''
Freshman Gary Harris scored 13 points and Travis Trice added 12 off the bench for the Spartans, who have four non-conference games remaining before opening Big Ten play Dec. 31 at No. 14 Minnesota - one of six conference teams in the Top 25.
"Coach wasn't happy at all,'' Trice said. "We weren't, either. We were disappointed in ourselves. That's not the way we play. You can't relax like that. We've got bigger things to play for.''
The Spartans will look to pick up their play against Loyola (6-2), which has won four straight after a 77-50 victory over Furman last Saturday.
Freshman Devon Turk hit 7 of 10 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and scored a game-high 19 points off the bench. He entered the contest averaging only 5.1 points.
Turk has hit 15 of his 30 3-point attempts this season.
"Devon has a quick, confident trigger," coach Porter Moser said. "He's been pretty consistent. We're just trying to get him more aggressive off the dribble."
Senior forward Ben Averkamp, leading the team with 16.5 points per game, was held to 10 for the Ramblers, who will be facing the Spartans for the first time since an 80-54 loss Dec. 17, 2002, at the Breslin Center.
Moser will be coaching Saturday despite it being the funeral of his mentor Rick Majerus, who passed away a week ago. Majerus coached his last game when Michigan State beat St. Louis 65-61 in the NCAA tournament March 18.
"I am extremely sad that I will not be able to attend the funeral on Saturday but I know Coach Majerus would never want me to miss this game," Moser said.
Loyola hasn't beaten a ranked Big Ten team since an 83-82 win over No. 9 Illinois on Dec. 27, 1986.
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