Jan. 25, 2014
Site: East Lansing, Mich. (Breslin Center)
Score: #21 Michigan 80, #3 Michigan State 75
Records: U-M (15-4, 7-0 Big Ten), Michigan State (18-2, 7-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Thursday, Jan. 30 -- vs. Purdue (Crisler Center), 9 p.m. ET [ TV: ESPN ]
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team (No. 21 AP, No. 25 ESPN/USA Today) used an 11-point second-half advantage to upset Michigan State (No. 3 AP, No. 3 ESPN/USA Today), 80-75, on Saturday night (Jan. 25) inside Breslin Center. Michigan has now won nine straight games, with the past three coming against top-10 ranked opponents.
The Wolverines trailed for most of the night, until sophomore Caris LeVert (Pickerington, Ohio/Central) hit a triple to tie the game at 53 with 7:45 remaining. They then took their first lead of the second half less than a minute later, when junior Jon Horford (Grand Ledge, Mich./Grand Ledge) converted a put-back layup to make the score 55-54. The Spartans answered with a three and a free throw, but U-M immediately knotted the score back up at 58 when freshman Derrick Walton Jr. (Harper Woods, Mich./Chandler Park Academy) hit a three with 5:41 left in the game.
After the teams trading points, Keith Appling drove to the basket, but his shot was blocked by Horford and led to a triple from sophomore Nik Stauskas (Mississauga, Ontario/St. Mark's School [Mass.]) that put Michigan up by three. Horford blocked another attempt by Appling on the next possession, and it set up an old-fashioned three-point play for Walton in transition. This made the score 66-60 with 2:29 left and silenced the once-rowdy Breslin Center crowd.
The Spartans repeatedly fouled to extend the game, but U-M hit 14 of its 16 free throw attempts in the last two minutes to take the top spot in the Big Ten standings at 7-0.
Stauskas scored 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and connected on five of his six attempts from long distance. Walton also scored 19 points and went 9-of-10 from the line. LeVert dotted the stat sheet with 17 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Michigan hit its first four shots of the game to go ahead 10-2 less than three minutes in. U-M controlled the lead until an Appling layup tied the game at 16 with 11:35 left in the half, and the Spartans went ahead 19-16 on a three on the next possession.
With 3:42 left in the first, MSU took a 32-24 advantage, but the Wolverines rscored six straight to come within two. Freshman Zak Irvin (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) drained a three, then Walton made an old-fashioned three-point play in transition.
Michigan State scored the final four points of the half and was up 36-30 going into the break.
U-M outscored the Spartans 50-39 in the second half and shot 11-of-19 (58 percent) from three, compared to MSU, which went 7-of-17 (41 percent) from downtown. In total, Michigan shot 22-of-50 (44 percent) from the field, while MSU was 26-of-55 (47 percent) for the game. The Wolverines' free throw shooting was vital, as they went 25-of-30 (83 percent) from the line to crush the Spartans' hope at a late comeback.
Gary Harris led all scorers with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting, and Appling posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. MSU had eight steals and forced 11 Michigan turnovers, but U-M won the rebounding battle, 34-30, and had 15 second-chance points compared to State's four.
The Maize and Blue will be back in action this Thursday night (Jan. 30) to take on Purdue at Crisler Center. The game is scheduled to tip at 9 p.m. and will be available on ESPN.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423