Tom Izzo sent a message to his No. 1 ranked Michigan State team Friday by holding three starters out of the first 6 minutes of a 98-65 romp over Mount St. Mary's because they were late to a class.
Veterans Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson said they received the message loud and clear and all three responded with solid outings once they were inserted in the lineup.
Izzo said he wanted to make a point to his team about getting things done in finals week.
"They paid a little bit of the price," Izzo was quoted by Mlive.com. "It's more than the minutes. It's the embarrassment. That's just the way it's got to be. They'll get over it. I think they all understand it."
For Appling, the team's senior point guard, it was the first game he did not start since his freshman season. It didn't prevent him from leading all scorers with 17 points. Payne finished with eight points and six rebounds and Dawson snagged 10 rebounds and scored six points.
Dawson was previously out of the lineup earlier this season because he was late for a team meeting.
Payne said he believes Izzo is simply trying to make sure he lives up to his word when it comes to graduating. Appling called it a 'wake up call' and Dawson admitted he can do better.
Obviously, it's a far cry from high drama for the Spartans, but it was necessary for Izzo to show he doesn't play favorites no matter how many games a player has won or points he scores. This will probably serve Michigan State well as the season progresses.
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