Friday, April 12, 2024

MSU men’s basketball holds Michigan scoreless in final seven minutes of 73-63 road victory

February 18, 2024

The Michigan State University men's basketball team took on University of Michigan at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Feb. 17, 2024. Michigan State secured their first win in Ann Arbor since 2019.

Knotted up at 63 with seven minutes and change remaining on the road at the University of Michigan on Saturday, Michigan State’s men’s basketball team found what it was seeking on the defensive end all night long.

Steal. Michigan travel. Good contest, Michigan miss. Steal. Michigan travel. Michigan timeout. In just three-and-a-half minutes, the Spartans were in control with an eight-point lead.

MSU’s timely defense didn’t stop there. The Spartans held the Wolverines scoreless in the final 7:01 of play while scoring the final 10 points to eventually win 73-63, clinching a season sweep over their bitter rival for the first time since 2019 when MSU went 3-0 against Michigan

It was every MSU player’s first career win in Ann Arbor. Even for fifth-year forward Malik Hall, who was steady from start to finish, logged 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting just 72 hours after pouring in a double-double and a career-high 29 points at Penn State

“I think we realized we needed a stretch where we’re really sound offensively and defensively,” Hall said about the final seven minutes. “(Michigan) missed some shots but I think we did a great job.”

240217-BMM-UMichVsMSU_MBB-9347.jpg
Michigan State junior guard No. 3 Jaden Akins shoots the ball at the Crisler center in Ann Arbor, Feb. 17, 2024. Michigan State secured their first win in Ann Arbor since 2019.

It was a crucial stretch for this MSU team – on the road, in the Big Ten, against its heated rival in a building that hadn’t yielded a win for the Spartans in nearly half a decade. The Spartans rose to the occasion as they turned their defensive success into points the other way and snagged the upper hand when it was too late for the Wolverines.

MSU’s Tyson Walker got back on track after scoring in single digits for the first time in 35 games against Penn State. The graduate guard tallied 19 points despite a 1-for-5 outing from three. The Spartans struggled all night long from downtown, converting on just two out of 14 attempts while Michigan drilled seven three-pointers of 20 attempts. However, they had their way inside, out-scoring the Wolverines 40-24 in the paint.

Michigan State also received size-able contributions from its bench, which out-scored that of Michigan 23-2. The Spartans won the turnover battle, forcing 22 Wolverine giveaways for 27 points on the other end and out-scoring the Wolverines 19-2 in fast break points.

“You should have a 20-point win,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said postgame, analyzing such lopsided statistics. “Credit Michigan with that, they did a good job of making plays and we did not make plays, but we ground it. And sometimes you gotta grind it.”

Things were anything but easy for the Spartans for all 40 minutes. Seniors A.J. Hoggard and Mady Sissoko picked up two early fouls and were sent to the bench by Izzo until halftime. Michigan reached the bonus with over nine minutes left in the first half. The Wolverines made seven of their first eight shots. 

240217-BMM-UMichVsMSU_MBB-1504.jpg
Michigan State graduate guard No. 2 Tyson Walker shoots a free throw at the Crisler center in Ann Arbor, Feb. 17, 2024. Michigan State secured their first win in Ann Arbor since 2019.

MSU found itself up by two, 39-37, at the halftime break after leading by as much as nine in the first half. Freshman forward Coen Carr had eight points in the first half, which included two patented jams in transition and a converted and-one opportunity

Carr’s output in the first half set the tone for MSU’s bench play on Saturday.

“I made a concerted effort in my pregame talk about ‘our bench has to bring more energy and be more valuable,’” Izzo said. “Coen Carr brought a lot of value. Tre (Holloman) brought a lot of value.”

There’s no doubt that Michigan (8-18 overall, 3-12 Big Ten) is reeling as a program. In fact, it's on its way to the program’s first losing season since John Beilein first took over in 2007. Still, the Wolverines have put together plenty of stretches featuring solid basketball, especially at home, where they have Dug McDaniel, their star player, at their disposal and recently beat Wisconsin. 

But, while Michigan’s implosion down the stretch had a lot to do with stellar MSU defense, the Wolverines simply lacked the discipline, resilience and firepower to punch back against their in-state rival when the going got tough.

With the win, MSU secured its 36th consecutive season with a record over .500, the longest active streak in the Big Ten.

240217-BMM-UMichVsMSU_MBB-1834.jpg
Michigan State senior guard No. 11 AJ Hoggard makes a play at the Crisler center in Ann Arbor, Feb. 17, 2024. Michigan State secured their first win in Ann Arbor since 2019.

Chalk it up as a Big Ten road win for the Spartans (17-9 overall, 9-6 Big Ten), who have just two remaining on their schedule before the Big Ten Tournament. Next up on MSU’s road to bolstering its NCAA tournament résumé is the Iowa Hawkeyes in East Lansing. 

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

Michigan State and Iowa tip off at the Breslin Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The game will be streamed exclusively on Peacock

Discussion

Share and discuss “MSU men’s basketball holds Michigan scoreless in final seven minutes of 73-63 road victory” on social media.