That college education is finally paying off.
No. 2-ranked Michigan State faced Columbia on Friday and as the game reached its closing minutes with the Spartans up by a handful, the Michigan State fan section — or the Izzone — took matters into its own hands. As Columbia held the ball, the fans purposefully over-counted the time left on the shot clock in order to fool the Columbia players into holding on to the ball long enough for a shot clock violation. A crazy scheme, but it worked.
Columbia turned the ball over on two consecutive possessions with the score within two due to the Izzone’s clever plan. The Spartans would go on to win the game 62-53.
After the game, Columbia coach Kyle Smith called the Michigan State crowd “the best-coached fans I’ve ever seen.” Smith was upfront about their effect on the game, admitting, “They duped us. They duped us on the backwards count or whatever.”
“I think my one guy had a brain freeze because he was right in front of me,” Smith said, “and there was like four [seconds] on the clock, and I’m like, ‘Take a look.'”
With the help of their fans, the Spartans just barely survived unranked Columbia, but it’s unlikely the same trick will work against other teams now that the secret’s out.
Check out the video of the Izzone’s mindtricks below.