Monday, November 29, 2021

Michigan uses key plays down stretch in blowout of rival Spartans

March 5, 2021
<p>Michigan coach Juwan Howard holds up a Big Ten champions sign after his team&#x27;s win against Michigan State. The Wolverines crushed the Spartans, 69-50, at Crisler Center on Mar. 4, 2021. </p>

Michigan coach Juwan Howard holds up a Big Ten champions sign after his team's win against Michigan State. The Wolverines crushed the Spartans, 69-50, at Crisler Center on Mar. 4, 2021.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

It was a missed layup by Eli Brooks, rebounded by Hunter Dickinson and passed along to Franz Wagner, who made a second-chance three-pointer, assisted by Mike Smith, that changed the narrative Thursday night in the first game of the home-and-home series between Michigan State and No. 2 Michigan.

Immediately following, Dickinson picked up a missed layup by Isaiah Livers and went in for a dunk. It was 44-32.

Over the next 11:19, U-M went on a 23-4 run. They almost doubled MSU's score in this time, ending up at 64-36.

MSU's teeth were getting kicked in and the Spartans were in a deep scoring drought for the majority of the second half. Only Aaron Henry, who was whistled for a flagrant one foul at the end of the first half and Marcus Bingham Jr. were able to find the net. It took until the under six-minute mark hit and then Gabe Brown added two free throws.

"That's something we cover every day," Joey Hauser said after the loss. "It's not just a cut out that you missed, it's really a momentum changer. ... That's a turn of three or four points right there that can really change the momentum of the game, and it did tonight. ... There's really no excuses."

"Dickinson's a great player," Julius Marble II said. "We were trying to get him out of spots as much as possible and try not to let him get anything easy, but (all of this happened) because (we slacked)."

This 19-point loss to Michigan (19-2, 14-2 Big Ten) means that Michigan State's chances of seeing the NCAA Tournament for year 23 have lessened to as low as 32%, per ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi.

"I'm very disappointed in the way we played," Izzo said. "It's hard to have effort-related things (mistakes) coming right out of halftime because you should be a little bit fresher, but there's no excuses."

At the end of the night, MSU was shooting 36% from the field, 0% from the arc and 71% from the line. Their leading scorer was Henry, who tallied 14 points to tie with U-M's Dickinson. U-M was led by Wagner, with 19 points.

"We'll bounce back," Izzo said. "We've been here before, a lot this year."

The Spartans are looking forward to Sunday evening when they'll rematch U of M in East Lansing at 4:30 p.m. on CBS.

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