On Friday night, No. 2 Michigan State nearly suffered an unexpected loss to Columbia. The Spartans found themselves trying to protect a two-point lead late in the second half when they received a major boost from their student section, better known as the Izzone. On back-to-back Columbia possessions, the Michigan State students forced turnovers by intentionally mistiming their shot clock countdown to dupe the opposition.
The genius of it is that the Spartans fans mix it up. Sometimes, they starting counting down and force an early shot by getting to zero when there are actually still a few seconds remaining on the clock. Other times, they fool opponents into thinking there is more time left on the clock by starting the countdown a few seconds late.
“They’re the best-coached fans I’ve ever seen,” Columbia coach Kyle Smith said after the game, via MLive.com’s Diamond Leung. “They duped us. They duped us on the backwards count or whatever. I think my one guy had a brain freeze because he was right in front of me, and there was like four (seconds) on the clock, and I’m like, ‘Take a look.’”
Michigan state ended up winning the game 62-53, and Tom Izzo felt that the students deserved more credit than the players.
“The Izzone was a lot more aggressive than the players on the floor, so I thought they did a hell of a job tonight,” the Spartans coach said. “It’s funny when that happened I almost got up and thanked them, but I thought didn’t want to embarrass anybody. I’ve always said that if we could get that group back to where they win a couple games for us…tonight it might have been one of them.”
Players are taught to block out crowd noise, but we know that is easier said than done. Kudos to the Michigan State student section for taking the concept of home court advantage to the next level.
H/T The Dagger