|#4 Michigan (21-4, 8-4)||24||28||52|
|#8 Michigan State (21-4, 10-2)||37||38||75|
Michigan traveled to East Lansing on Tuesday night to complete a brutal four-game stretch and look to steal a win on the road from hated rival Michigan State. Instead, the Spartans came out on fire in the electric Breslin Center and put the game away within the first 14 minutes.
Michigan looked lethargic from the get-go, making sloppy passes and coming up a step too slow on rebounds and loose balls. It resulted in a season worst 16 turnovers and a humiliating 23-point loss.
Michigan State scored the first four before Trey Burke got Michigan on the board. The Spartans’ strategy was clear: feed the ball to Brendan Dawson and Derrick Nix inside and make Michigan’s undersized big men try to stop them. Dawson scored six of State’s first 10 points by the first media time out and Nix had two.
MSU freshman Gary Harris got in on the action with a three to put State ahead 13-7, but Nik Stauskas answered with a three of his own. A jumper by Nix, another three by Harris, and a layup by Denzel Valentine precipitated the under-12 time out and gave Michigan State a seven point lead.
Out of the time out, Caris LeVert hit a jumper, but from there, Michigan went on a five minute scoring drought that allowed the Spartans to build a 29-17 lead. They kept pouring it on the remainder of the half and by the time the buzzer mercifully came, Michigan trailed 38-24. It was the most first half points Michigan had allowed all season and the second fewest first half points the Wolverines had scored all season, resulting in the largest halftime deficit of the season.
In the second, Tim Hardaway Jr. got his first – and only – bucket of the night on a drive through the lane, but Harris answered right back with another three. A three-point play by Burke was answered by a Keith Appling jumper and a frustrated Burke picked up his third foul. That led to a three minute scoring drought that all but sealed the game for the Spartans. By the time Max Bielfeldt tipped in a shot at the 15:27 mark, Michigan trailed by 19. And the lead only grew the rest of the way until both teams pulled their starters for the final minutes.
In the end, Michigan lost 75-52, but it wasn’t even as close as that. On this night, Michigan State couldn’t miss and Michigan couldn’t do anything right. The Wolverines looked as if they had run out of gas, as if the previous three-game stretch – at Indiana, home against Ohio State, at Wisconsin – had taken a toll, both mentally and physically. The latter two of those went to overtime.
Burke managed to score 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, but was largely ineffective due to foul trouble. Stauskas was the only other Michigan player in double digits with 10, while Mitch McGary, who got the start for the still-injured Jordan Morgan, scored four points and grabbed four rebounds. He also committed four turnovers. Tim Hardaway Jr. managed only two points on 1-of-11 shooting. By comparison, Corey Person scored three and Eso Akunne scored two in garbage time.
As a team, Michigan shot just 39.6 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from three. Michigan State shot 48.4 percent – a number that would have been over 50 percent if you remove the garbage time threes from the end of the bench. Michigan was out-rebounded 41-30, and gave up 14 offensive rebounds.
The loss drops Michigan two games behind Michigan State and Indiana in the Big Ten standings. Both still have to come to Ann Arbor in the final two weeks of the season, but every game remaining on the schedule is a must win if Michigan is to have any chance of sharing the Big Ten title.
The Wolverines return home to host Penn State (8-15, 0-11) at noon on Saturday and then get a much needed week off before Illinois comes to town. Michigan will wear all white retro uniforms on Saturday to pay tribute to the 1968 Wolverine team that opened Crisler Arena.
|Final Game Stats|
|01||Glenn Robinson III*||1-4||0-1||0-0||2||0||2||1||2||1||1||0||1||21|
|10||Tim Hardaway Jr.*||1-11||0-5||0-0||0||4||4||1||2||0||1||0||0||32|