NIK STAUSKAS THA GAWD
I apologize in advance for my inability to form complete thoughts. That game was excruciating right up until the point when it was glorious, which was... the very end, basically.
After quickly losing an early eight-point lead, Michigan fell behind Michigan State by as much as eight points at the 13:29 mark of the second half, mostly due to the heroics of Gary Harris. While hounding Nik Stauskas on the one end, Harris was unstoppable on the other, pouring in a game-high 27 points while adding five rebounds, two assists, and three steals.
The Wolverines clawed back thanks to some remarkable guard play of their own. Nik Stauskas hit five of his six three-point attempts, scored 19 points, dished out four assists, and capped off the effort by trolling the Izzone. His triple with 3:12 remaining gave Michigan a three-point lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Michigan didn't lose that lead in large part due to Derrick Walton, whose 19 points matched Stauskas for the team lead. Ten of those came in the final 2:29, beginning with a fast-break and-one layup after Caris LeVert threaded a perfect outlet pass that hit Walton in stride. Walton also knocked down both of his three-point attempts, 2/4 of two-pointers, and 9/10 from the stripe—8/9 in the game's waning moments. On defense, he helped limit Keith Appling to ten points on 3/11 shooting. If the freshman point guard was nervous, it didn't show.
LeVert scored 17 of his own and pulled down eight rebounds. There was bad with the good—Harris often had his way with LeVert offensively, though that's not a huge knock, and LeVert's three assists were canceled out by three turnovers—but his ability to snake into the lane proved critical, as did his free-throw shooting down the stretch.
Jon Horford also stepped up big, connecting on all three of his field goals and contributing three boards and three blocks. Jordan Morgan rebounded well—four of his five came on offense—but was limited severely by foul trouble. Glenn Robinson III scored nine but struggled with his shot. Mitch McGary, meanwhile, provided valuable coaching advice in the late stages:
WIN THE GAME (via)
In the end, Michigan's total team effort overcame a remarkable performance from Harris and a shorthanded Michigan State squad (I'm required to mention this by law). It also finished off a three-game gauntlet that the Wolverines improbably got through unscathed:
KenPom gave Michigan only a 3.89% chance to beat all of Wisconsin, Iowa & MSU during this stretch. U-M's one win away.
— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) January 25, 2014
Like, really improbably.
— Zack Novak (@novak3159) January 26, 2014
The end result: Michigan is alone in first place in the Big Ten, the last undefeated squad standing, and the schedule eases up significantly during the next three games—Purdue, at Indiana, and Nebraska. Despite breaking in a freshman point guard, dealing with the loss of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., and losing Mitch McGary before conference play began, Michigan is in the driver's seat on the road to the conference title.
Michigan State's seniors will finish with a losing record overall against Michigan. They're currently 2-5.
— Bry Mac (@Bry_Mac) January 26, 2014
Me too! I'll split the W with you.
splitting the W gives each of you a V...hope it is nice...
want the V, man
It also happened 35 years ago to the day that M upset #5 MSU (and Magic Johnson) at Crisler.
That's years before my time, but I'm sure I would've enjoyed it.
I was a freshman, and attended that game. Our freshman G (Smith?) hit a pair of free throws with nearly no time left on the clock to win it for us. I remember I was so jacked after the game, it was HUGE win; we weren't very good at that time. Now, where did I leave my AARP card....?
I love you Ace.
You're my boo!
WIN THE GAME! sign board.
Our equivalent of "You are FAST"
Everyone keeps saying that MSU was short handed, but it seems to me that they are broken handed.
Broken back here? Lost key players post-title run? Can we get no f-in sympathy?
This piece by Chantel reframes things, backed by history. Written before tonight's game (strategy?), it lays out the challenges JB & team are facing down really well.
(yes, a two-fer -- both the team AND the article -- for all you grammar freaks).
I was satirizing the fact that the media and MSU are overplaying the whole short handed thing. I was making the joke that Branden Dawson broke his hand, so the team is broken handed, hardy har, get it?
-- for a better second half (of the final game).
Yes, I got the joke.
I just didn't think it was funny. ("Dude, just lie" -- now *that* was funny.)
But really, that's besides the point.
Basically I agreed w/ you, and was just looking to chime in. Was frustrated at the coverage (how the press just eats up Izzo - &fans'- BS), not trying to taking a shot at you.
Yeah, a couple total noob moves on my part -- was looking for an "in" to let off some steam about the biased coverage -- probly shoulda just directly posted my own post -- and also didn't realize posting a link pointing to someone else's work might not be cool & was probably not a good idea till I got a better sense of the lay of the land.
So my bad on those. I thought I was being witty, & you brought me down pretty quick (once I got my points & back-tracked -- didn't notice at the time).
At the same time - relax. I got what you were saying & thought they were being lame too.
(And still are...)
Ok, now back to present tense.
Time to BEAT STATE!
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>How's it feel? <a href="https://t.co/t1ku2OiGEh">https://t.co/t1ku2OiGEh</a></p>— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) <a href="https://twitter.com/umichbball/statuses/427264456591413248">January 26, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Michigan Basketball twitter locker room vine. Not sure how to post tweets and stuff, sorry.
Damn, apparently not...
It blows my mind that MSU seniors were going to go out losers to UM. Give me a plate of subs to contemplate over.
But isn't it still possible, even if highly unlikely, that this is not confirmed yet? We have them at home still in the regular season, then we could play them in the B1G Tourney and then also the Big Dance? Or was that 2-5 record just counting regular season games?
And I don't care!
Who is Byrd and why does the Byrd chirp?
the tweets, i love them.
Great advice, McGary! When I saw that live I was trying to figure whether the tall assistant was trying to loosen up the team or someone had pranked him :)
That caps a legendary stretch of Michigan hoops. All Hail Coach B! Subs for all!
tweeted that Coach Beilein says so when the players go to the line to seal the deal
Next time his farewell will be less subtle. #GTFOMC
I love Nik's blow kisses. I honestly do. He gets it. He gets this rivalry and he knew that W was so fuggin big in that arena. The kisses were subtle enough not to be offensive but at the same time they were a nice jab at Sparty nation.
And I'll say, when things are intense down the road in AA, and the Conference title is on the line and the crowd is all on Garry Harris and Co, and they skip town with a W and Harris or somebody does the same subtle showmanship type thing, I'm all for it. Keep it classy but have some fun.
My wife doesn't watch the games with me, but she does often listen from the other room, and being Lithuanian, she likes to know how Stauskas is playing. When I told her about his kisses to the Spartan crowd as he ran off the court, she said, "well, the Lithuanians are a very loving people."
Great win on the road in conference, I'm getting used to saying that.
Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Mr.Burns assembles a softball team of ringers and coaches Daryl Strawberry by telling him to hit a homerun.
This is impressive:
Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, & Michigan State have a combined 39-5 record @ home this yr. Michigan is responsible for 4 of those losses.
— David Merritt (@DavidMerritt15) January 26, 2014
That is an amazing stat.
Michigan: Home Wreckers.
Beilein prepares this team for these games so well
We better be ranked 7 or better
Who would have thought, after losing Burke and THJ...that this would have happened?!?!
Time to conquor the b10
Time to conquor the b10
Counted 3 possessions in the 2nd half where sparty slapped the floor on defense; made 2-3's and 2 FT's.
Maybe they need to hit it harder next time. I'm sure Dawson can show them how.
Wish I could get in on the POSbang comments and other Board topics. Death to 504!
What a M vs. Sparty weekend! Basketball, Wrestling, and Hockey x2!!
That's an appropriate way to end your game recap, because I am in love with this team.
I was going to have to bow down to little brother if we didn't win (with two starters out...)... thank goodness. This makes no sense but...SWEEEEET JOHNNNNY!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIDQW8UZpeE
This team's got everything it needs to ride all the way to the top. Nice, steady progression and... Sparkles! at the right time.
What is it now, 27-0 under Beilein when we score 80 pts?
We out rebounded MSU 34-30 and 11-10 on ORB. MSU's tough nosed defense held us to only 80 points. Oh yeah, all of this happened at the Breslin.
You have to be impressed with this young Michigan team. They did not crack under tough defensive pressure like last years team did at MSU and OSU. Great win.