Tom Izzo was quick to praise his team after they took down USC 72-62 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Although the Michigan State head coach hasn’t been thrilled with the Spartan defense, he said the team was able to “get our mojo back” with the win over the Trojans.

Here’s what Izzo had to say about the win:

“We got our mojo back. We talked about it for two or three weeks. But no secret that I haven’t been pleased with our defense. And I’d say two or three minutes I thought it was exceptional. We had a little stretch there when we were ten up. They came back. And part of that was scouting.

“Big guy, Morgan, hit a shot that we didn’t think he could hit. They hurt us on some ball screen slips. And I think we got a little tired with our bigs there for a stretch…

“We gave up a few other things, and — so our guards did the job there. Joey rebounded pretty well. What did you end up with, Joey — eight. He had some big rebounds. They found him for some big shots. He hit big shots. But Malik Hall played a lot better defensively and offensively. And other than A.J. getting in foul trouble I thought he did a good job defensively and running our team. So everybody helped, whether it be Jackson getting a — Kohler getting a bucket. We got a lot out of Tre. Hits a big shot and hurt his knee a little bit, but it’s not twisted, just banged.
And I thought that Carson Cooper did a good job. He’s big and sometimes size matters.
Other than that, I’m just happy we’re moving on. And I’m happy we’re moving on the right way.”

As for Michigan State’s defense, the Spartans recorded 7 steals with Jaden Akins notching 3 of them in the win over USC. Mady Sissoko also delivered 2 blocks while Michigan State limited the Trojans to 7-for-20 shooting from 3-point range in the victory.

Michigan State will need that type of defense against a Marquette squad averaging nearly 80 points per game under Shaka Smart. The Spartans will face the No. 2 seeded Golden Eagles in the second round of March Madness on Sunday.