East Lansing, MI
The #4 Michigan State Spartans looked to rebound after two less than stellar performances in their last two games, when the Michigan Wolverines came to town today. That didn’t happen as their arch rival upset the Spartans today 82-72.
Old demons reared their ugly head again for the struggling Spartans as they were plagued by turnovers, and offensive rebounds by their opponents. The Spartans gave the ball way 18 times compared to the Wolverines seven and the Wolverines had 26 points off of those Spartan turnovers compared the MSU capitalizing of UM mistakes with only seven.
While Michigan State won the battle of the boards by a slim 32-31 margin, the Wolverines had 11 offensive boards compared to the Spartans eight. There was very little to be excited about for the Spartans.
Miles Bridges had 19 points and six rebounds while Jaren Jackson added 19 and three boards. Cassius Winston was the only other Spartan to score in double digits as he added 11. Xavier Tillman was a bright spot. He had five points in 12 minutes while contributing in a big way defensively. Nick Ward had an off night. He only scored four points and had five rebounds in only 14 minutes. Gavin Schilling, like Tillman, was impressive with six points and six rebounds. Matt McQuaid who the Spartans needed his long-range game against the Wolverine defense had no points.
Tom Izzo said of the loss to his rival, “We went into the game with three or four different goals. It wasn’t Nick’s fault; our guards didn’t get over and help. I look at myself and I don’t think I did a very good job subbing. We just didn’t do the things we needed to do. When you get 15 more shots because of our turnovers.”
UM Coach John Beilein was obviously excited when he said of the contest, “Unfortunately I have come in here too many times with my hat in my hand and it is really good to come in here with a win. We only turned the ball over seven times and only gave them eight offensive rebounds. We caught the on a bad night. We embrace the win against an outstanding team. It is very difficult to win here. I do not think any of my teams have ever beat a top-five team on the road. It is not easy to score points against a Tom Izzo coached teams. It wasn’t any type of coaching; it was good players making tough shots at big times.”
It was Michigan’s Moritz Wagner who was the difference in the game. He had 27 points and four rebounds and was simply sensational. He was eight of 13 from the field and was eight of eight from the charity stripe.
Izzo added, “That is a pretty good defensive team and we shot nearly 50%, but we kept giving the ball away with turnovers. They didn’t do anything that surprised up, but we did some things that surprised me. I thought he (Miles Bridges) responded real well early. I thought him and Jaren both were two guys that we challenged to do more and they did. But let’s face it that our point guard struggled. Just one of those days we didn’t do a good job. More worried about someone gritting their teeth and getting the job done.”
The Spartans will return to action on Friday night at 7 PM against the Indiana Hoosiers. That game will take place right back here at the Breslin Center and can be seen on FS1.
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