Spartans Win In-State Rivalry Game On Hardwood, Defeat Wolverines 83-67

Credit: Aaron J. Thornton
By Aaron J. Thornton
After the first meeting between the instate rivals was canceled because of a lack of available players due to health issues, Saturday’s contest between Michigan and Michigan State was much anticipated.  Michigan, coming off a three game win streak, looked to do something the football team was not able to in picking up a victory on the road in E. Lansing.  But the #10 nationally ranked Spartans were not planning to cater an upset party at home, using a strong second half performance to defeat the Wolverines 83-67.

Michigan started the game with a lot of energy and confidence, and after the first five and half minutes, had a six point lead on the Spartans.  Then Michigan State freshman Max Christie took over, scoring 12 of the next 14 points for the Spartans including completing a four point play when he made a three pointer and was fouled  on the shot.  His personal scoring run cut the Wolverines lead to just one.  The Spartans would soon after take the lead on a Malik Hall layup with seven minutes left in the first half.  Both teams would trade baskets and lead changes over the next few minutes until Hall buried a three pointer with four minutes remaining in the half to give Michigan State the lead for the rest of the afternoon.  

State led by four points at halftime (39-35), behind 52% shooting from the field (55% for three pointers) compared to Michigan’s 36% from the field (13% for three pointers).  Michigan State’s Christie and Hunter Dickinson of Michigan both had 14 points at the break.

In the second half, that same energy and confidence that was keeping the game close for Michigan in the first half, went away and State took full advantage.  The Spartans went on a 6-0 run to increase their lead to 10 points over the Wolverines within the opening minutes of the second half.  The young Wolverines couldn’t muster any type of run to close the gap and the Spartans, behind their loud and spirited crowd, kept rolling, eventually going up by 20 points with 3 minutes left in the game.  Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo would then pull his starters and give some playing time in the rival game to his reserves and players at the end of the bench.

Dickinson led all scorers in the game with 25 points.  The crowd didn’t seem to adversely affect his play much, and he even commented afterwards saying “it (MSU) is a fun place to play, I had fun out there!”  Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan both added 11 points for the Maize and Blue.  For the Spartans, Christie led the team with 16 points.  Malik Hall added 15 points and Joey Hauser added 14.  A.J. Hoggard, of Michigan State, had the only double double among both teams with 11 points and 10 assists.  Hoggard’s 10 assists was one off of Michigan’s entire team’s total of 11 assists.

The story of the game was no doubt the red hot shooting of MSU.  The Spartans overall shot 55% (31-56) from the field and 55% (9-18) from behind the three point line for the game.  Michigan, on the other hand, shot 37% (23-62) from the field and a dismal 16% (3-19) for three pointers.

After the game, Michigan Coach Juwan Howard talked about the lack of aggressiveness in the second half as well as miscommunication on the defensive end of his team.  “We have to talk more and limit our mistakes, mistakes based on fatigue, “ he said.  On the other side, Coach Izzo gave credit to all of his players and the incredible environment.  He summed up the game by saying “Today our shots went in, and theirs didn’t!”

Final Score:  Michigan State 83 – Michigan 67


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