EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team dropped a 59-44 decision against the Michigan State Spartans Tuesday night (Feb. 13) at the Breslin Center. Leading for most of the first half, Michigan (17-9, 5-6 Big Ten) was unable to transfer its energy into the second half, where scoring droughts of four and five minutes haunted the Wolverines until the final horn. Michigans 18-for-51 shooting effort, resulting in 44 points against Michigan State (18-8, 5-6 Big Ten), marks a season low for U-M points in a game.
Senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Redford HS) was the only Wolverine to post a double-digit scoring effort with 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. He also pulled down five rebounds and dished out an assist in a team-high 36 minutes of action. Sophomore Jerret Smith (Romulus,Mich./Romulus HS) provided a spark with seven points on 3-for-5 shooting, including one three pointer, in addition to tallying three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Seniors Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) and Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) came away with six points. Abram shot 3-for-7 from the field and posted three rebounds and a pair of assists. Petway was 3-for-6 from the field and pulled down three rebounds, while collecting two steals and an assist.
In what was a low scoring first half, the Wolverines took an early 10-9 advantage following a low-post Petway score at 13:13. The Petway jumper -- mixed with pair of three pointers by Harris -- within the first couple minutes of the contest aided the Michigan effort. Harris finished with a team-high eight points in the first 20 minutes of action.
Petway stripped the ball from MSU guard Raymar Morgan and coasted in for a lay-up to widen the Michigan lead to 14-9. The Wolverines were able to build the five-point advantage from an almost six minute scoring drought by the Spartans. Michigan forced seven Michigan State turnovers in the first half, including three shot clock violations that resulted in nine U-M points.
Junior Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) and Abram added their first buckets of the night midway through the half to keep the Maize and Blue in control, 18-14, at 7:45. Over the next seven minutes, the Spartans enjoyed a 10-5 run to take a 24-23 lead into halftime. Only Harris and Smith would connect on baskets during the span, as MSU guard Drew Neitzel tallied his third and fourth three-pointers of the night -- the last hitting with 13-seconds left before the break.
Out of halftime, both teams traded baskets to a 29-29 tie at 16:19. Abram got the second half scoring underway for the Wolverines as his bucket down low ended a more than four minute scoring drought that went back to the end of the first half. Buckets in the paint by senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) and freshman Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe HS) followed to knot the score at 29.
The Spartans quickly responded with a 7-0 run over the next five minutes. The Wolverines looked to erase the 36-29 deficit, battling back with a 7-2 run of their own. Smith got the stretch started with a lay-up, which was followed with Harris third trey of the night. Smith ended U-M's run with an alley-oop lob to a streaking Petway for a powerful jam, trimming the MSU lead to 38-36 with 6:43 remaining in the game.
It appeared that the Spartans could be handed their second loss of the season at the Breslin Center, but a four-minute scoring drought by the Wolverines doomed their chances of a stunning road victory. The drought, which ran from 6:43-2:43, encompassed a 9-0 tear by MSU, including Neitzels fifth three pointer of the contest. A tip-in by Abram ended the Spartan run and brought the MSU lead back to single digits, 47-38, but the damage was done. Michigan hit two more field goals before the final buzzer, but MSU achieved a 59-44 win over its interstate rival.
The Wolverines return home Saturday (Feb. 17) to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423