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Michigan State’s Tom Izzo defends players being target by ‘chicken’ critics: ‘I get paid a lot of money, so take your shots at me’

Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo is fed up with critics attacking his players, telling reporters Tuesday night that he gets “paid a lot of money, so take your shots at me” instead.

The Spartans dropped consecutive games for the first time this season Tuesday, falling 75-70 to the Nittany Lions, which led for most of the game. They also lost to a Big Ten team at home for the first time this year, opening players up to criticism — something Izzo calls baseless.

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Penn State's Lamar Stevens, right, shoots against Michigan State's Xavier Tillman during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Penn State’s Lamar Stevens, right, shoots against Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

“If there’s any Michigan State people out there that are abusing some of my players on that frickin’ Twitter — I’m sick of it, OK. I’m sick of dealing with what I’ve got to deal with on that… so if they are Michigan State fans, I’d be more than happy to buy their tickets, and I mean that. I mean that.”

A frustrated Izzo continued: “Some of the stuff that my guys have put in front of me the last couple of days — I mean we’re still 16 and 7, we’re not 5 and 20.”

Izzo said he’s “proud” of Michigan State and its alumni, but is upset by the reaction of some fans this season.

“It’s despicable, some of the things that have gone out there about some of our guys that have given more to this program than most of those alums or most of those people sitting behind a chicken keyboard,” he said.

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DES MOINES, IOWA - MARCH 21: Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans glares at Aaron Henry #11 after a play during their game in the First Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament against the Bradley Braves at Wells Fargo Arena on March 21, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

DES MOINES, IOWA – MARCH 21: Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans glares at Aaron Henry #11 after a play during their game in the First Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament against the Bradley Braves at Wells Fargo Arena on March 21, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“I get paid a lot of money, so take your shots at me. But don’t take ’em on a kid who’s been a 3.7 student who’s done more for this university than most of those people have.”

Penn State scored 21 points off Michigan State’s 15 turnovers and had 15 second-chance points off 11 rebounds, marking its first win at Michigan State since 2009.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source

neallesh@yahoo.co.uk

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