East Lansing, MI
The Spartans had two starters out with injuries, and they couldnâ€™t overcome it as they fell to their arch rival Michigan tonight 80-75.Â The Spartans ended their best start in program history falling to 18-2 7-1.Â
Down two starters certainly hurt, but the Spartans had their chances and for that, this is one that slipped away.Â It is important to remember the Wolverines were down an NBA big man starter as well in Mitch McGary.
Tom Izzo said, â€œGive Michigan credit.Â They made some big threes.Â I thought there were a couple of big calls.Â We just didnâ€™t have enough left.Â They made the shots when they had to make them.Â In my thirty years here I have never been prouder of a team.Â They made a couple of big threes late.â€
The key stat of the game was that the Wolverines shot 58% 11 of 19 from the three.
The frustrating part for the Spartans was that they had a turnover advantage:Â UM had 11 and the Spartans only five.Â The Wolverines won the rebounding battle 34-30 and shot 44%.Â MSU shot 47%.Â The Wolverines have beaten three top ten teams in a row.Â A feat that has not been done since Iowa accomplished it in the 1986-1987 season.
UM head coach John Beilein said of the contest that, â€œThis was a great win for us because of who we just beat.Â One of the classiest, best programs in the country. They do things the right way.Â They are a program with great players and great coaches and that was a great win.Â If you are going to contend for this championship you have to deal with Michigan State.Â Great venue (Breslin) to play basketball, this is a great environment.â€
Gary Harris led the Spartans with 27 points; Alvin Ellis III had 12 and Keith Appling 10.Â On the boards Matt Costello led with 11 and Appling had 10 assists.
The Spartans next game will be Tuesday in Iowa City when they face the Hawkeyes.Â That game tips at 7PM and you can see it on ESPN.