March 13, 2010

Allen's absence most noticeable on defense

INDIANAPOLIS - With less than five minutes remaining in Michigan State's Big Ten tournament game with Minnesota, Spartan coach Tom Izzo made his way to the end of the bench to say a few words to suspended wing Chris Allen.

The junior wing, who had made the trip to Indy with his teammates sat in street clothes, was told by Izzo that he had let down senior teammates Raymar Morgan and Isaiah Dahlman by forcing Izzo to keep him on the bench during a pivotal portion of the season.

"I just said that I want you to understand that you let two seniors down whether we recover from it or not," Izzo said. "I told him that I want you to make sure and understand it."

Allen we vocal in his support for his teammates throughout the game, but it was painfully clear throughout the game how much the junior wing wanted to be out on the floor than sitting in street clothes helpless to impact the game.

"I missed him and I knew that I would," said Izzo. "I didn't do it because I wanted to, I did it because I had to."

Michigan State recruited Allen as a scorer when the signed Georgia Player of the year in 2007 along with Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers. But during the past three years, the player that at one time had the reputation of not being able to guard his own shadow, had developed into the best defensive player on the Michigan State basketball team.

Allen's defensive presence was painfully absent against the Golden Gophers, who shot only 39 percent for the game, but 62.5 percent from 3-point range in the first half.

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