Spartans Defend Home Court and Defeat Wolverines 59-53 in East Lansing

Photo Credit: Aaron J. Thornton
The Jack Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing was standing room only as expected. Over 14,700 fans in green and white, a few in maize and blue scattered throughout, were there for the matchup of Tom Izzo’s Spartans versus Juwan Howard’s Wolverines. It was not pretty, but the Michigan State Spartans did just enough to beat their in-state rivals from 65 miles Southeast and keep their winning streak going at six in a row.  

It was the Wolverines who struck first, as Hunter Dickinson made a hook shot over Mady Sissoko of the Spartans. The two teams kept it close until MSU went on a 13-4 run to end the first half and take a 9 point lead into halftime.  Both teams shot poorly in the first half of play, MSU 32.1% from the field and Michigan just 27.0% before the break. MSU’s Malik Hall lead all scorers in the first half with 9 points.

In the second half, MSU led by as many as 14 points at two different times before Michigan battled back to close the gap to 4 points with just under 4 minutes left in the game and then again with 13 seconds left.  However the Spartans would hold off the comeback effort by the Wolverines to take the first of two games the two teams will play this season with a six point victory.

Michigan’s Dickinson led all scorers in the game with 18 points on 8 of 16 shooting.  He also grabbed seven rebounds. The Wolverines had two other players besides Dickinson score in double figures.  Sophomore Kobe Bufkin added 15 points and Freshman Jett Howard added 10 points.

Michigan State was led in scoring by Junior A.J. Hoggard and Senior Malik Hall who both scored 15 points in the game. Hoggard also added a game high 6 assists. MSU’s Tyson Walker was the team’s third player who scored in double figures with 14 points.

Despite being low, both teams were able to slightly improve upon their scoring percentage in the second half as Michigan State finished 21-56 for the game (37.5%) and Michigan 19-55 (34.5%). One of the key differences in the game was three point shooting. The Spartans shot 6-19 (31.6%) from behind the arc for the game while Michigan shot a dismal 3-20 (15.0%).  

Next up for Michigan (9-6) will be a trip to Iowa City on Thursday to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (10-6).  Michigan State (11-4) will travel to Madison, WI to play the 14th ranked Wisconsin Badgers (11-3).  The Wolverines and Spartans will match up again in Ann Arbor on February 18th.  

Credit: Aaron JThornton

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