The heroes of Michigan State's closer-than-expected 62-53 victory over Columbia weren't clad in Spartans jerseys.
They were wearing Izzone t-shirts.
Columbia trailed by two with a little over three minutes remaining when Michigan State's student section contributed to a key defensive stop by mistiming its shot clock countdown and fooling the Lions into not taking a shot before the buzzer sounded. Somehow, the students cleverly pulled it off again on Columbia's next possession, inducing the Lions into a second straight shot clock violation by starting their countdown late and reaching three when the clock hit zero
Said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo to reporters in East Lansing after the game, "It's funny when that happened I almost got up and thanked them, but I thought didn't want to embarrass anybody."
Added Columbia coach Kyle Smith, "They're the best-coached fans I've ever seen. They duped us."
The two Izzone-induced defensive stands helped soon-to-be-top-ranked Michigan State avoid what would have been a monumental upset. Adreian Payne tallied 12 of his 26 points in the final seven-plus minutes and the Spartans held Columbia scoreless over the final 4:28 to escape with a nine-point victory.
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