Wolverines Defeat Spartans on Hardwood 84-72 During Emotional Night

In something not often seen, two rivals came together on Saturday night to stand together and unite for a tribute to remember those that lost their lives or were impacted by the mass shootings at Michigan State University earlier in the week.
There were tears shed by MSU Head Basketball Coach Tom Izzo and many others as Crisler Arena, home of the Michigan Wolverines, was illuminated in green for the moment of silence that took place. In his post game press conference, Michigan Head Coach Juwan Howard described it as “very classy by the University of Michigan” in coming together to show respect and display signs, wear shirts with “Stand by MSU” messaging, and play the MSU alma mater song (by the Michigan band).

The game was the first for the Spartan Basketball Team since the on campus shootings occurred as their game on Wednesday, against Minnesota, was postponed due to the tragedy. Behind all the emotion, MSU scored first in the game on a basket by Joey Hauser.  However, Michigan’s Dug McDaniel would answer and also get the next three baskets giving Michigan an early 7-2 lead. The Spartans would then go on a 7-2 run and tie the game at 9 points a piece. Both teams battled back and forth, seeing eight lead changes in the first 10 minutes of the game before Michigan State would take the lead and keep it for the remainder of the first half. The Spartans built up a lead of as many as eight points before the Wolverines fought back to keep the game close. At halftime, it was Michigan State holding a slight lead 36-33.

McDaniel, the Freshman Guard for Michigan, had the best half of his young career scoring 11 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the field with 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Michigan State was led at the break by Malik Hall with 12 points and also had Joey Hauser with 10 points.

Most of the second half of play continued with both team trading baskets and keeping the sold out crowd on the edge of their seats. Michigan was able to tie the game off a Jett Howard basket with about fourteen minutes left, but neither team could put together a run good enough to separate themselves from their rival. The second half alone had nine times where the game was tied and it wasn’t until about two minutes remaining in the game that the Wolverines were able to take the lead for good on a Kobe Bufkin three point shot. Michigan would then get a number of stops and hold MSU scoreless for the last two minutes of the game to claim victory 84-72.  

In looking at the statistics, rebounding was the one stat that stood out and made the difference in the game. MSU was out rebounded by Michigan 38-25 giving the Wolverines the edge in second chance points. Ten of those rebounds came from Freshman Tarris Reed Jr. of Michigan, who led all players in that category for the game. Reed also scored a number of big baskets, contributing 8 points and adding 3 block shots for the Maize and Blue. The Wolverines ended the game with five players scoring in double figures. Led by McDaniel with 18 points, the team also had Bufkin with 17 points, Hunter Dickinson with 14 points, Jett Howard with 10 points, and Joey Baker with 10 points. Unfortunately for Michigan, Jett Howard, one of two sons of the Head Coach on the team, exited the game early in the second half when he went down with what looked to be an ankle injury. His status was unknown after the game although he did walk off the court on his own.

Michigan State was led in scoring by Hauser with 20 points. The Spartans also had Malik Hall score 14 points and Tyson Walker score 11 in the game. A.J. Hoggard of MSU led all players in the game with 7 assists.

The Wolverines honored the 2013 National Championship Runner Up Basketball Team during halftime at the game. Former Michigan Head Coach John Beilein along with players Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr, Nik Stauskas, Spike Albrecht, Jon Horford, and others were back in Ann Arbor for the 10 year anniversary and recognition of their accomplishments.

Both Michigan and Michigan State are in need of victories in the final stretch of their seasons to have any hope of making the postseason NCAA Tournament. Michigan (15-12) will travel to New Jersey on Thursday to play Rutgers (17-10).  Michigan State (16-10) will return home to host #14 Indiana (19-8) on Tuesday in East Lansing.

Final Score: Michigan 84 – MSU 72

Credit: Aaron J. Thornton


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