The second matchup between the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans took place Saturday night. The first game was a win for the Spartans in Ann Arbor, this time in East Lansing ended up being the same result, different story.
First Half Woes
For Michigan State, the first half was not ideal. Falling to a 35-29 point deficit at the halftime buzzer, the Spartans were trying to answer the Wolverines on offense to no avail. The deficit could have been worse if not for a 6-0 run towards the end of the half.
By pulling to within single digits, Tom Izzo’s squad had a shot at taking down Michigan in the second half. Due to the fouls that Michigan State forced Michigan to commit, Coach Beilein was forced to play a lineup never before seen. The lineup didn’t feature Isaiah Livers, Ignas Brazdeikis or Zavier Simpson.
For the Michigan Wolverines, it was standout Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis who led the way in the first 20 minutes. The two combined for 9-14 shooting (Brazdeikis was a perfect 5-5) for a combined 22 of Michigans 35. Michigan State had no players in double figures at the half.
The amazing part about the Wolverines’ lead, they were outrebounded 20-9 by Michigan State and only shot 1 free-throw to State’s 12. The Wolverines were able to cause grab 7 steals and force 9 turnovers. This led to Michigan shooting 8 more field goals than the Spartans.
#9 Michigan State defeats rival #7 Michigan 75-63, earning a share of the Big Ten regular season title. One word to describe what Tom Izzo has done at MSU this year. Amazing.
Cassius Winston: 23 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST
— CollegeBB News (@CollegeBBNCAA) March 10, 2019
Second Half Comeback
The Michigan State Spartans came out FIRING in the second half. They outscored Michigan 46-28 in the half. Cassius Winston was a big part of the Spartans’ second half offensive assault. After starting just 1 of 8 from the field, Winston went off for five straight made baskets.
The end of his one-man run put Michigan State up for the first time halfway through the second half. There was little that Michigan could do to stop the Spartans in the second twenty minutes.
Xavier Tillman’s five blocked shots changed the game for the Spartans completely. The staunch defense that Tillman brought was contagious to the rest of Michigan State’s team. Matt McQuaid played perhaps his best defensive game this season. Afterward, the two seniors met at halfcourt and kissed the Spartan logo.
Michigan’s Ignas Brazdeikis had a good, quality game. The young forward put up 20 points and hit all three of his shots from deep. However, the star big man fouled out of the game and was left to watch his team lose from the bench. There was practically no production from the Wolverine’s bench offensively. The bench was able to score a total of 9 points. There is no doubt that this team is sorely missing Charles Matthews presence in the lineup.
The result of this game puts Michigan State in the driver’s seat heading into the BIG 10 Tournament. They are now the one seed in their conference tournament and undisputed regular season champions. Purdue moves up to second in the conference and Michigan has now fallen to third. This more than likely closes the door for the Wolverines’ hopes of a one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
For the Spartans, after completing a clean sweep of the Wolverines, their dreams are still alive. Depending on Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Duke’s performances in their respective conference tournaments could be the difference between Michigan State and a one seed.