Michigan head coach Juwan Howard stormed onto the court with 13:04 left in the game, earning himself a technical foul. That moment provided the biggest pulse of life seen all game from his team’s sideline.
And unfortunately for Howard, the Michigan State (MSU) faithful serenaded him with a rousing chant of “Go Green! Go White” during the entire time.
Led by Cassius Winston, the Spartans defeated the Wolverines 87-69 in front of a raucous Breslin Center to improve to 12-3 on the season. Winston, who notched 32 points and nine assists, was relentless. Whether it was beyond the arc or attacking the paint, he imposed his will on Michigan’s defense. One could actually make the argument that even with his impressive performance, his most impressive shots of the evening were the ones that didn’t count.
However, those “buckets” helped maintain the fire lit under MSU’s fanbase (and sideline). Additionally, this was Winston’s first career 30-point game donning the green and white.
Even with the final score being what it is, it’s no indication of how this game played out. The better prepared and better-coached team won.
While Michigan was down Isaiah Livers, who was on a 50-40-90 pace prior to being injured, the Spartans proved to be too much. They hustled more, won the rebound battle (42-34), and they never trailed en route to their seventh straight victory. The came with the energy most would’ve expected Michigan would have given Howard’s comments prior to the game. Earlier this week when speaking on the rivalry, Howard that while he respects Michigan State and their future Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, he wasn’t afraid of them either.
MSU didn’t seem to be afraid either, playing a physical brand of basketball in a statement game for both programs. This loss drops Michigan to 10-4 on the season, with a 1-2 record in Big Ten play. Michigan State, on the other hand, remains unblemished in the conference, improving to 4-0.
Their next meeting is February 8th at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor at Noon.