Tonight's game was the only regular-season game against Michigan State. It also marked Michigan's third game in a seven-day span. U-M will close the season with four of its last six on the road.
Michigan faced its sixth nationally-ranked opponent tonight in No. 9 Michigan State. Overall, it was the fourth ranked opponent in the top 10. This season, U-M is 2-4 against ranked foes.
Michigan snapped a two-game winning streak against Michigan State at Crisler Arena. Tonight's loss gives U-M a 12-3 home record this season. The Wolverines are now 91-72 against the Spartans all-time in the series.
Michigan was able to hold Michigan State to just 31 rebounds, equaling the Spartans season low for the season. Prior to tonight, the Spartans led the league in rebounding at 39.9 per game and had the No. 1 rebounding margin (10.4) in the country. They only out-rebounded U-M by three tonight, 31-28.
Michigan's 42 points were a season low and marked just the second time this season the Wolverines were held to under 50 points in a game; the other was 49 points at Purdue (Jan. 31). The 42 points is the lowest for U-M in a game since closing last season with 34 points against Wisconsin in the quarterfinal of the 2008 Big Ten Tournament.
For the third time this season, Michigan had a sellout crowd at Crisler Arena. Tonight's crowd of 13,751 fans marked the 170th all-time sellout at Crisler. U-M also sold out its games against Duke on Dec. 6 and Ohio State on Jan. 17. In addition, the Wolverines have sold out their last eight games against the Spartans and 27 times in the 39 game home series at Crisler.
With an 18-point effort, DeShawn Sims posted his 22nd double-figure scoring game of the season. Overall, it is the 48th of his career. For the season, he is averaging a career-best 15.0 points per game and is closing in on 1,000 career points; he has 882 in three seasons at U-M.
For the sixth time this season, Manny Harris did not score in double figures as he closed with seven in the contest. He continues to lead U-M scoring at 17.1 points a game and needs just 56 points to become the fifth U-M sophomore to reach 1,000 points in a career.
C.J. Lee started his fourth straight game. For the third straight game, Lee set a new career best for minutes played with 37. It is just the second game in his career he has played 30 or more minutes; the other was U-M's last game against UConn when he played 31 minutes.
With his start against MSU, Manny Harris has now started all 57 games in his Michigan career. He is currently the only Wolverine on the roster to start and play in every game during his career.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement... "Michigan State is a great team and we were really going to have to really play well tonight. They are in the middle of four games in a nine-day span, like we had, and we are three in six, but we just did not play the way we can play. We are just working to get better, that's all we can do."
On the first half offensively... "We are just having some really big timing issues, people leading each other. I was really disappointed, that hasn't happened to us very much. The other thing is there defense was very good. It was a shock early in the game because guys like Delvon (Roe) and (Durrell) Summers are so long. We don't really see with that length and that speed when we are shooting the ball. We had eight turnovers (in the first half), that was disappointing, letting them get up by eight. In the second half, we made a great run and then I didn't think we did well down the stretch, down four a couple of times. We are better than we played when we were down four."
On finding offensive options... "It's tough right now. Stu (Douglass) got in foul trouble and our other guys that have been scoring are in a shooting slump. What do you do We went to Manny (Harris) a lot and to DeShawn (Sims). DeShawn did very well. Manny also faces their best defender. We have to continue to develop our players so that we have more answers."
On moving forward... "We have to. We do need to rest; they have tomorrow off, then we have six games left with only two at home. We have lost three home games (in conference). Obviously, I want to speed this learning curve of what it takes to win, what it takes to consistently win at home. We have lost to Ohio State at home, Wisconsin at home and now Michigan State at home. The learning curve isn't as fast as I would like it to be -- our understanding, our length, our depth -- all of those things are big issues, but we just have to continue to do it and grow. Coaching staff, development, practice, everything."
U-M Junior Forward DeShawn Sims
On the disappointment of the tonight's performance..."We just didn't close the game today. That's about it. We just didn't close it."
On making adjustments moving forward..."Some of that stuff you can't really correct as far as missed shots, but we can control the turnovers. We just have to play more mentally tough in the last five minutes of the game."
On coach's message in the locker room about moving forward..."He said that we have to step it up mentally. We can't let teams come in here and get loose balls and beat us to 50-50 balls in our hometown."
On the battle in the paint..."It was tough. They got some buckets down in there, and we got some good buckets down there too, but it was tough. Some balls didn't bounce our way and some balls didn't go their way. The game was played tough, but we just ended up losing at the end. The Big Ten is physical. Any team that we play in the Big Ten is physical."
On putting this game behind them... "As long as you have games ahead, you can put it behind you. You win some, you lose some, and you always have to be able to move ahead to the next game."
U-M Senior Guard C.J. Lee
On the game..."The game came down to getting stops at the end and getting those 50-50 balls. To their credit they got stops and got 50-50 balls, made shots and hit free throws. Give them credit, they haven't lost on the road yet in conference and they played really well. We just have to come up with those 50-50 balls and get those stops. It's like a broken record, but it's what we have to do."
On how frustrating it is to lose two close games in a row..."We did have two opportunities with UConn and Michigan State and took two Ls unfortunately. Give Michigan State credit tonight toward the end of the game. They came up with the 50-50 balls and they got the stops and made free throws at the end. Like I said before, they haven't lost on the road and they're a tough team. In terms of our mindset, it's not over, obviously, and I'm sick of saying it, but we have to take advantage of the opportunities that we do have left and learn from this film. I'm sick of saying that we have to learn from the film and then put in the next game. It's a matter of doing it. I know that you'll definitely see the effort against Northwestern. I know that."
On the importance of finishing strong down the stretch since the team in contention for a spot in the postseason... "I've made a conscious effort not to bring that up and I think that Jevohn (Shepherd) and Dave (Merritt) have too, but if we have to bring that up to increase the urgency then that's what we're going to do. With seven games left, I haven't brought that up so that guys don't have added pressure on themselves, but guys have to answer this bell and we have seven games left and we have to answer the bell seven times. If that's what it takes for guys to answer the bell then that's what I'm going to do as a senior and as a leader."
U-M Freshman Guard Zack Novak
On what they did to force Michigan into different looks... "They forced us to drive the ball a little bit more than normal we were used to, but we have to adjust."
On how hard it is to adjust when you don't have space... "You still can get open shots. You just have to make sure you have a quick release. You have to find other ways. You have to pump fake. You have to do something to try and find a way."
On the Michigan offense in the second half... "It was trust in the offense. I think in the first half we got away from things too much and botched some of plays up, and we can't do that. We have to have more poise and I think that we had that in the second half."
On the importance of the Northwestern game... "It's a big game. Every game is a big game from here on out and every game has been a big game for a while now. We have to get it done."
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
On the win... "It wasn't pretty, but I thought it was a big win for us. I thought both teams played extremely hard defensively. I thought we had some chances early on to expand the lead a little bit, and we missed some opportunities. I thought they missed some opportunities. Both teams didn't play awfully well offensively if you look at the shooting percentages. In the first half, the difference was Delvon Roe. We knew there were going to be match-up problems, us guarding their three-point shooters with our big guys and them guarding our bigger guys with a guard. The first half, it worked to our advantage a little bit."
On the team's defense... "If Travis Walton isn't one of the best defenders in this league then I don't know who is. Manny Harris has the most respect from me, my staff and our team. I thought Travis did an incredible job with help from other people. The only guy we couldn't stop pretty well was DeShawn Sims, one of their good players. I thought the key to the game was we had to hold them under seven or eight three pointers because of the number they shoot. I thought if they got 10, 11 or 12, we were in trouble. Four threes in the game was maybe the key."
On Michigan... "You look at Michigan's program and they have come a long way. I am sure they are disappointed because this was a big game for them, but they played extremely good defense. If their defense keeps up, they are going to make shots. They have too many good shooters. I think it was their defense that has improved the most since last year."