Tom Izzo couldn’t believe his eyes. Most of the people in packed Breslin Center had the same reaction.
For the 1st time in 170 conferences, Michigan and Michigan State were both ranked in the Top 10. But only Izzo’s Spartans looked like a highly-ranked team throughout the game.
The Spartans led by as much as 31 points and never trailed while stomping the Wolverines 75-52. Freshman Gary Harris had a team-high 17 points, including 5 3-pointers, as No. 8 Michigan State Spartans (21-4 overall, 10-2 Big 10) regained sole possession of first place in the conference, a half-game in front of idle Indiana.
“It was like a perfect storm,” Izzo said. “We played almost as well as we will be able to play and they didn’t play as well. I am not sure we’re as good as we played but I’m going to take it. It was a big step for us but don’t think that’s the real Michigan team because it’s not.”
Counterpart John Beilein echoed Izzo’s sentiments.
“That’s the worst we’ve played in a long, long time,” he revealed, “credit Michigan State for that. Their experience and post play was big. They actually took care of the ball and they offensive reflected back extremely well. There’s so many things we played poorly in, it’s hard for me to put a finger on it.”
Derrick Nix contributed 14 points, Keith Appling had 11 and Branden Dawson added 10 for the Spartans, who have won 4 straight and 10 of their last 11 games. Spartans is 14-0 at Breslin this season and has won 32 of their last 33 in the building.
“It claims a lot but we’ve still got to try to remain consistent,” Appling expounded of his team’s performance. “If we continue to play like this, there aren’t any limits for us.”
Trey Burke’s 18 points led No. 5 Michigan Wolverines (21-4, 8-4), which has lost 3 of its last 4 games. Burke didn’t get much help, as his teammates shot a combined 14 for 42 from the field. Tim Hardaway Jr, Burke’s backcourt partner who was averaging 16.3 points, had 2 points while missing 10 of 11 shots. Football spreads
Michigan State has won the last 2 meetings after losing 3 straight. The teams will play again in Ann Arbor on March 3.
Appling crushed the Wolverines’ hopes of a comeback early in the 2nd half. After a Burke 3-point play pulled Michigan inside 12, 41-29, Appling went on a private 7-0 run.
He made a jumper while falling down, and then drew an offensive foul against Burke. With Burke on the bench temporarily, Appling made a foul-line jumper and a transition 3-pointer for a 48-29 lead with 16:30 remaining.
An inside basket by Nix nudged the Michigan State Spartans’ advantage to 21, 52-31. The attack continued as a Dawson putback, a Harris 3-pointer and an Adreian Payne jumper made it a 30-point game, 69-39.
Led by Nix, the Spartans dominated inside while taking a 38-24 halftime lead. Nix had 10 points as Spartans outscored Michigan 24-8 in the paint.