How they did it

MSU capitalized on pregame keys en route to dominating victory over Michigan


On Tuesday, The State News published five keys for the Spartans to win the first ever top-10 clash with the rival Wolverines. The No. 8 MSU men’s basketball team (21-4 overall, 10-2 Big Ten) dominated No. 4 Michigan (21-4, 8-4) from start to finish, winning 75-52 in front of a frenzied crowd of 14,797 in attendance. Here’s how MSU fared when it came to the pregame keys.

1. Size inside

MSU bullied the Wolverines in the paint, with Derrick Nix leading the charge. The senior center scored 14 pointsalong with a number of great passes out of the post, while freshman forward Matt Costello came off the bench to outplay his Michigan counterpart, Mitch McGary. Costello scored eight points along with six rebounds, compared to McGary’s four points and four rebounds.

2. Limit turnovers/fast break

MSU continued its recent stretch of ball control, turning the ball over just eight times despite a high-possession game that saw more than 60 shot attempts. As a result, U-M struggled to find easy opportunities in transition, converting only nine fast break points.

3. Avoiding foul trouble

Foul trouble had been a concern for MSU in recent games, but no Spartan picked up more than three fouls Tuesday night, allowing MSU head coach Tom Izzo to play rotations and make substitutions as he saw fit. Meanwhile, U-M guard Trey Burke finished with four fouls, delivering a significant blow to U-M’s offense.

4. Defending the 3-point shot

Coming into the game, Izzo said it would be critical for MSU to hold the Wolverines to six or seven 3-pointers instead of 11 or 12. Izzo got his wish, as U-M shot 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) from beyond the arc, with MSU freshman guard Gary Harris nearly making as many three’s (five) than the entire Wolverine team combined.

5. Controlling U-M role players

U-M forward Glenn Robinson III was quiet again for the Wolverines, rarely looking to score, finishing with two pointsand just four shot attempts. But it was the work MSU did on the Wolverines’ second-leading scorer that sealed the deal. MSU locked down Tim Hardaway Jr. as the guard shot 1-for-11 with only two points.

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