Izzo: 'The better team won tonight'


EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Toledo's Keith Triplett knew his
performance would be pivotal in the final minute.

And he didn't fail, missing only of six free throws as the
Rockets upset No. 14 Michigan State 81-76 Monday night.

"I had to make them," said Triplett, 9-for-10 from the line in
a 17-point game. "I felt as though I would have lost the game if I

It was the first non-conference defeat for the Spartans in 36
games, since a 68-65 loss to Detroit on Dec. 13, 1997.

"Obviously, we are happy with the win tonight," said Toledo
coach Stan Joplin, a former assistant to Michigan State's Tom Izzo.
"We knew we would have to play well coming in here and we did a
lot of good things tonight."

Izzo wasn't pleased with his team's effort.

"The better team won tonight," he said. "They outplayed us in
just about every phase. We tried a phony comeback and lost. We
didn't deserve to win at the end."

Triplett's free throws came after Michigan State (8-3) had
overcome a 65-52 deficit to tie the game at 71 on Chris Hill's
3-pointer with 2 minutes remaining.

"That's what the game is about; it's a game of runs," Triplett
said. "The key is, you've got to finish. We needed the free
throws, and we got them to win the game."

Following a 3-pointer by Toledo's Nick Moore, Kelvin Torbert
tied the game again with a 3-pointer with 1:10 left.

After three Triplett free throws gave Toledo a 77-74 lead, Adam
Ballenger hit a basket to get Michigan State to within one with 20
seconds left. But that was close as the Spartans would get.

"Everyone thought we were going to pull it out in the end,"
Michigan State's Chris Hill said. "Give them credit. They hit
their free throws."

All the Spartans could do was wish they had put up a better

"Personally, this is one of the most disappointing losses in a
long time," Aloysius Anagonye said. "We've got to give them
credit. They played better defense. They hit their shots and we
didn't defend them. We did not perform on defense."

Izzo was more blunt.

"I'm looking for 40 minutes of effort, and we haven't gotten it
yet," he said. "If things keep going like this, it's going to be
a long season."

Joplin, who admitted to mixed emotions coaching against the
Spartans, went into the game hoping merely for a better performance
than his team's last trip to the Breslin Center, when Michigan
State won 78-33.

"We knew we would have to play extremely well to win here," he
said. "They don't lose here very often."

Joplin said he wasn't going to spend too much time celebrating
the victory.

"We'll celebrate for a day, at least," he said.

Morris and Hill each had 19 points. Sammy Villegas had 11 for
Toledo, while Torbert and Anagonye had 16 apiece for Michigan