Michigan Falls at Michigan State to Split Season Series

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team dropped a 90-71 decision at No. 16 Michigan State, Saturday (Feb. 18), at the Breslin Center to split the season series. The second match-up between these intrastate rivals was a shoot-out with the Wolverines (17-7, 7-6) edged slightly from the floor, shooting 51.9 percent (28-of-54) overall compared to the Spartans' (19-7, 7-5 Big Ten) 54.7 percent (35-of-64). While both teams shot in similar fashion, Michigan State's pressure inside and advantage on the glass helped them overtake the Wolverines.

Senior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) led the Wolverines with 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting and three triples. Horton gave his all from start to finish, dishing off seven assists and bringing down five rebounds in his 35 minutes of play.

Senior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) and junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) each recorded 15 points. While Michigan had trouble getting the ball inside in the first half, Brown and Sims combined for nine field goals in the second frame to give U-M a presence in the paint. Brown finished the game with a perfect 7-of-7 from the field with six boards while Sims finished 5-of-6 while going 5-of-5 from the charity stripe.

Junior Brent Petway (McDonough Ga./Griffin HS) rounded out the double-digit scorers, finishing the game with 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting with five rebounds. Petway was also strong presence inside in the second half for the Wolverines, combining inside shots with fadeaway jumpers to help the Michigan cause.

The game also saw the return of junior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) and freshman Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS). Harris, who has missed two games due to an ankle injury, played 18 minutes, recording two points on 1-of-4 shooting with one assist. Smith, who has missed four games with mononucleosis, played nine minutes, dishing off two assists and grabbing one rebound.

The game started off in favor of the Wolverines as they jumped out to a 13-5 advantage in the first 5:30 of play. Horton was a catalyst in the quality start, hitting two triples to open the game before freshman Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/West Hill Collegiate) connected on a three-point play.

Though they started solid, Michigan went into a scoring drought and MSU began to close the scoring gap. The Spartans kept the Wolverines out of the paint with a pressure defense while posting points on the other end. Before long, U-M's lead had been cut to three points (18-15) with 10 minutes remaining in the half.

The Wolverines stayed in it with free throws, but the Spartans began to pull away. While the two teams went back-and-forth on the scoreboard, more of Michigan State's field goals counted for three points and the Spartans' advantage began to increase.

Michigan also continued to fall victim to the pressure inside, finishing the half with just eight points in the paint compared to Michigan State's 20. Still the Wolverines forced the ball inside to Sims and Brown while Petway and sophomore Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) connected on jump shots to keep the Spartans within striking distance. Despite the deficit, all was not lost as Michigan was down just 11 (39-28) heading into the locker rooms at the break.

The second half began and finished with high scoring as the Wolverines came out of the locker rooms pressuring the ball inside with five of their first six scores counting for points in the paint. Though U-M's adjustments were working, however, Michigan State's shooting wasn't cooling off and the Spartans responded to every Michigan score.

MSU also continued to win the rebounding battle, which kept the Wolverines from mounting a solid comeback. Michigan's defensive pressure was effective, forcing Michigan State to miss shots, but the rebounds continued to go in favor of the Spartans, allowing them a second chance at scoring.

The Wolverines fought for the remainder of the game, but Michigan State made few mistakes. In the end, the deficit was just too much to overcome as Michigan dropped the 90-71 decision to the Spartans.

With three games remaining in the Big Ten regular season, the Wolverines will host their second straight ranked opponent when No. 14 Illinois comes to Crisler Arena, Tuesday (Feb. 21). The game against the Fighting Illini will be broadcast nationally on ESPN with a 7 p.m. tipoff.

The Big Ten tilt will also be part of "NASCAR Night" where a Michigan-branded mini-NASCAR model car will be given away free to the first 4,000 fans in attendance at the game. There will be various ticket giveaways for 2006 MIS events, including a pair of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series tickets, and a fan hospitality package.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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