Izzo sorry for tough early slate

Baltimore Sun - - MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL - As­so­ci­ated Press AP

Michi­gan State coach Tom Izzo said af­ter Thurs­day’s loss that he did a ter­ri­ble job putting to­gether a sched­ule that has left lit­tle time to prac­tice and try to de­velop his team.

The No. 24 Spar­tans lost to No. 20 Bay­lor 73-58 in the semi­fi­nal round of the Battle 4 At­lantis in Par­adise Is­land, Ba­hamas. They had pre­vi­ously lost to Ari­zona in Honolulu and Ken­tucky in New York.

The Spar­tans travel to Duke next week in the ACC/Big Ten Chal­lenge.

“I ac­tu­ally apol­o­gized to my team,” Izzo said. “And yet I’ve al­ways played a tough sched­ule. ... You know what? You can take it as an ex­cuse, you can take it as the truth, I don’t give a damn.

“I’m telling you what I did. This ain’t on them; it’s on me.”

Bay­lor dom­i­nated Michi­gan State inside with its size ad­van­tage, got out in tran­si­tion and kept knock­ing down shots. Johnathan Mot­ley scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half, and the Bears shot 55 per­cent af­ter half­time

“We were able to get stops and get some tran­si­tion buck­ets,” Bears coach Scott Drew said. “And when we’re able (to) get some easy ones, that loosens things up.”

The Bears did a lot of things well. They con­trolled the boards, had 24 as­sists on 30 bas­kets and scored 19 points off turnovers.

The Spar­tans weren’t able to pro­duce much push­back. They went seven min­utes be­tween bas­kets span­ning half­time and their thin front line was no match for 7-foot Jo Lual-Acuil, who fin­ished with 14 points and eight re­bounds, and the 6-10 Mot­ley.

“We were mov­ing the ball and re­ally play­ing well through the first half, and we quit do­ing that,” Izzo said. “I just think we looked aw­fully tired. I can ac­cept that that’s my fault, not theirs.” Owls spring up­set: Quin­ton Rose scored 26 points, in­clud­ing two free throws with two sec­onds left, to lead Tem­ple to an 89-86 win over No. 25 Florida State in the first game of the NIT Sea­son Tip-Off in New York.

Shizz Al­ston Jr. added 22 points for the Owls (3-2). Dwayne Ba­con led the Semi­noles (5-1) with 22.

The Canucks an­nounced Thurs­day that they signed de­fense­man Ben Hut­ton to a two-year, $5.6 mil­lion ex­ten­sion.

The 23-year-old is in his sec­ond sea­son with the team and has two goals and two as­sists in 20 games.

Se­lected 147th over­all at the 2012 draft, Hut­ton was one of the lone bright spots for the Canucks in his rookie sea­son, seem­ingly com­ing out of nowhere to make the club out of train­ing camp.

Hut­ton, who played at Maine, had one goal and added 24 as­sists in 75 games in 2015-16 to lead all Canucks de­fense­men in scor­ing.

Hut­ton has strug­gled at times early this sea­son while looking for chem­istry with part­ner Erik Gud­bran­son. How­ever, he has played bet­ter of late for the Canucks, who have won four of their last seven fol­low­ing a nine-game los­ing streak.

“Ben is de­vel­op­ing into one of our young, emerg­ing core play­ers and is an im­por­tant part of our future,” Canucks GM Jim Ben­ning said in a state­ment.

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