Michigan State falling short in road contests



By Tim Martin

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State’s struggles on the road have hurt its chances for a Big Ten title.

The most recent road loss, Saturday’s 85-76 setback at Penn State, leaves the Spartans in fourth place in the conference behind Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin.

With its conference season at the halfway point, the Spartans trail the first place Boilermakers by only one game. But the toughest part of Michigan State’s schedule comes up soon. After the Spartans (19-3, 7-2 Big Ten) host last-place Northwestern (7-12, 0-8) next Saturday, they hit the road for back-to-back trips to Purdue and Indiana.

Michigan State, which fell three spots to No. 11 in The Associated Poll released Monday, is unbeaten at home, but five of its last nine regular season games are away from the Breslin Center.

“We need to be a little tougher than we’ve been on the road,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Monday at his weekly press conference.

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“We are going to get people’s best shots. But you still have to find a way to win. And we didn’t do that, and I guess that’s the disturbing part. And yet I am going to make sure that I keep reiterating the fact that we’re 19-3, not 3-19. And we’re going to get better.”