Michigan 82, Michigan State 72 Comment Count

Ace January 13th, 2018 at 3:33 PM

I'm going to try to write through the very real tears streaming down my face. I'm also cackling with glee.

I know Brian already posted it. Moe Wagner giving Nick Ward a crippling case of the jelly-ankles cannot be posted enough.

Teddy Valentine and Co. may have done their best to muck up an classic rivalry row, but between the endless whistles (51 combined fouls!) was some fantastic basketball. Michigan and Michigan State played a back-and-forth affair with neither team able to break the other. The lead changed hands 13 times and was knotted up 11 more; the margin didn't crack double digits either way until a Wagner free throw with 1:10 to go.

Wagner's ankle may not be at full health, but you'd never know it based on today's performance. Despite only playing 27 minutes before fouling out in the game's waning moments, he poured in a career-high 27 points, roasting whichever Spartan big man tried to defend him with a dizzying array of off-the-dribble moves for layups and pops out to the perimeter for three-point bombs.

Ward couldn't keep up, nor could he come close to matching Wagner's impact on offense, scoring just four points in 14 minutes. Jaren Jackson Jr. (and a host of others on both sides) also battled serious foul trouble, and MSU's vaunted defense could be driven on as a result. The Wolverines nearly matched the Spartans in points in the paint, 32-34, and more than made up that ground by hitting three more three-pointers. Remarkably, they also outrebounded MSU on the offensive end 11 to 8.

Wagner had plenty of help, too. Zavier Simpson dominated his matchup with fellow sophomore point guard Cassius Winston, outscoring him 16-to-11, dishing out five assists to Winston's two, and recording zero turnovers against his counterpart's four. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Charles Matthews made up for poor performances from the field by combining to make 11-of-13 free throws. Isaiah Livers, who got his first career start, added six points in 25 energetic minutes. The man he replaced, Duncan Robinson, sunk his only triple from the corner and fought hard against brutally tough matchups.

Most importantly, the whole team gave a defensive performance that, given the context, is among the best single-game efforts in Beilein's tenure. Little came easy for the Spartans, who couldn't get anything going on the perimeter, making 3-of-12 threes, and instead had to rely on brute force. Michigan held up remarkably well against MSU's front line and forced 18 turnovers with an aggressive, varied approach.

In fact, if Michigan had made a few more layups in the first half or more free throws down the stretch, this could've been a downright comfortable win. Holding the Spartans at bay for a double-digit win will more than suffice, however.

By the end, Jordan Poole wanted to know where all the Spartans had gone.

The Stauskas is strong with this team.

[Hit THE JUMP for the box score.]

Comments

gujd

January 13th, 2018 at 3:41 PM ^

Only thing more satisfying than watching that Wagner ankle breaker on loop is seeing the Izzo press conference? Anyone have that they can post?

Bodogblog

January 14th, 2018 at 9:30 AM ^

Yeah Green is an argument the other way. He's a special talent in the NBA, was a good player at Sparty but not special. There's a reason he was a first round talent that wasn't picked until the second. Izzo is that reason.

I think he goes first round if he plays for Beilein, and I think history bears that out. Not going too far, he clearly learned a lot about the game and life from Izzo. Just not enough to showcase his talents and get drafted in the round appropriate to his talent.

MGoPoe

January 13th, 2018 at 7:37 PM ^

My favorite is that later in his press conference he tells the media that they weren't going to run the table and that some of the people who wrote those things haven't even stepped foot in Breslin this year.  Follows that up with "all I ask of you is that make sure you know what you're talking about before you talk about it"......just like you're talking about our team laden with jr and sr's, how your team was shooting high 50%'s while we were low 30%, etc.  That guy can recruit and has a lot of wins but does less with his teams than damn near anyone it feels, christ I hate him.

bronxblue

January 14th, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

I like him saying he didn't like Wagner trash talking. This is the same guy who had his teams throwing lobs up 40. I am 100% certain that before he retires, he will be caught in a recruiting scandal, and I will cackle with fucking glee that this goober couldn't do more with every break he's gotten.

TrueBlue2003

January 14th, 2018 at 3:39 PM ^

he brought it up unprompted in the middle of a lengthy answer to a completely unrelated question.

He was just mumbling some stuff about his guards not, playing well, he has to be better, whatever, and then was like and Wagner's celebrating on the court....

He's just such a good representative of that fan base.  So bitter.

Mannix

January 13th, 2018 at 3:42 PM ^

Moe was a difference maker, as he should be. Z was really good and I didn’t think he had this kind of game. Matthews did a really good job defensively too.

Beilein won this on the D end. Kudos to him. Since 10-11, he’s now 8-7 vs Izzo.

DRob did a great job on D and this role is probably the best for the team.

Holy Cow! So much fun watching this today.

Yessir

January 13th, 2018 at 5:59 PM ^

Great win!  

What I liked about it was no one really had an oustanding game.  We played within ourselves, played pretty good, but it wasn't like it took a GREAT GAME from 3 of our players to beat these guys. You could say Mathews had a so-so game and we still won. 

Bodes well for the future. 

bronxblue

January 13th, 2018 at 3:45 PM ^

Great game.  I didn't see a lot of the game, but did follow on the radio/internet.  Credit to Michigan for weathering that early foul BS and settling into a rhythm to end the half/into the second.  Also, this team can officially rebound with anyone and defend at a high level to boot.  Even a year ago they don't win a game like this shooting 6/15 from outside, but Michigan was able to consistently limit MSU's drive-and-dish offense and turn them over.

Wagner had great game and absolutely abused Ward, and Simpson looked fantastic commanding the offense (save the FT struggles).  Also, Matthews didn't have a great stat line but it sounded like his defense was frustrating for MSU all day.

What cracked me up were a number of Spartan fans talking about how young their team was, ignoring the fact 4/5 of these guys were playing major minutes last year and they added a 5* to that rotation.  This is college basketball, and while I'm sure they'd be better with some older players, this collection of players have been together playing big minutes for over a year now; they shouldn't be "spooked" by opponents going on runs or being unfamiliar with each other.

Bridges has taken a step back, which is sort of the Izzo MO when he tricks an elite player to stick around for an additional year.  How guys continue to fall for his overtures amazes me.

 

The Man Down T…

January 13th, 2018 at 3:47 PM ^

should be 5-1, in second place, a half game behind Ohio State.  Considering what we expected coming in, I'll take this all day!!  :) :) :) 

 

We're just gearing up too.  Just think how brutal this team will be when it's in full stride.  Mark January 25th (at Purdue) and Feb 18th (OSU) as the revenge and destroy tour gears up..

scottiek65

January 13th, 2018 at 3:48 PM ^

Our tougest remaining home game is with Ohio State, for whom we want revenge from the away tilt. 

We need to beat Maryland Rutgers Northwestern, Minnesota, Iowa and Ohio State at Crisler, do that and we have ten conference wins. 

We have road games at Nebraska, at Purdue our toughest remaining road game by far, at Northwestern, at Wisconsin, at Penn State, and at Maryland. If we can win four of six on the road thats fourteen conference wins. 13 wins if we go 3-3 with the assumed winning out at home. 

given our schedule and the state of the Big Ten we should look at 13-5 as a minium, 14-4 as possible. 

13-5 in the Big Ten means a season record of 24-7. 

Lets do this! Only Purdue at Lafayette scares me now. and Ohio at home makes me a little nervous. Time to take advantage of Wisconsin's down year in Madison this year, take care of the Terps and the Wildcats too. 

 

UMmasotta

January 13th, 2018 at 5:37 PM ^

...but freshman gonna freshman. I think a realistic floor is another 1-2 losses below that.

That said, this team can (and should) compete with anyone left on the schedule home and away. It will be fun!

Same goes for the B1G and NCAA tourney too - I don't expect a final four, but I think it will be fun no matter how long the season lasts!

scottiek65

January 13th, 2018 at 3:52 PM ^

hello Voters? 

we are 15-4! can we finally get ranked now? we beat number 4 on the road, lost to number 5 at home by 1. 

we belong. how about throwing us some votes?

 

TrueBlue2003

January 13th, 2018 at 10:17 PM ^

100% be ranked now.  Should even be top 20.  It was understandable to be just outside the top 25 previously...not anymore.

One point loss to #5 team and a thorough beating at the #4 team will put us comfortably in.

I didn't think it was possible, but we're now playing for a top 4 seed and a (near) home start to the tourney in Detroit.  The last time that happened we went to the title game.  It's a wide open field....

Naked Bootlegger

January 13th, 2018 at 3:56 PM ^

A big win against Michigan Agricultural College.   This team has grown so much since the first few weeks.   Am I disappointed that we didn't go 2-0 against Purdue and MSU?  Yes.   But we showed that we can play with the big boys, and we SHOULD have been 2-0 against the B1G's best.   

Let's keep this momentum rolling.