Michigan Earns Sweep of MSU with Big Second Half
February 24, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
MICHIGAN SPORTS RELEASE
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team (No. 20 AP, No. 20 ESPN/USA Today) used a 13-0 run in the second half to pull ahead and defeat Michigan State (No. 13 AP, No. 14 ESPN/USA Today), 79-70, Sunday afternoon (Feb. 23) in front of a sellout crowd at Crisler Center. The victory gave the Maize and Blue sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings and completed the regular-season sweep over the rival Spartans.
Sophomore Nik Stauskas (Mississauga, Ontario/St. Mark's School [Mass.]) scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half and shot 9-of-13 for the game while also leading the team with five assists. Fellow sophomore Caris LeVert (Pickerington, Ohio/Central) had 23 points, and his classmate Glenn Robinson III (St. John, Ind./Lake Central) chipped in 15 points and five rebounds for the Wolverines, who now have five wins over ranked opponents this season.
With the Spartans up 22-11, the Wolverines scored 10 straight points in a 2:33 span to come within one, 22-21, with 6:08 left before halftime. Sophomore Spike Albrecht (Crown Point, Ind./Northfield Mount Hermon Prep [Mass.]) hit a three from the wing, then LeVert knocked down a triple from the corner. On the Spartans' next possession, LeVert stole the ball and passed it ahead to freshman Zak Irvin (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) for a fast-break dunk. LeVert then hit a jumper that was initially ruled a three-pointer to end the run, but it was later changed to a two-point basket.
MSU went back up seven (31-24), but a step-back jumper by LeVert and a driving layup from Robinson put the score at 31-28 with 1:13 remaining in the first. After MSU got up 36-31 with five ticks left in the half, the Wolverines pushed the ball up the court to LeVert, who hit a three just before the halftime buzzer to make the score 36-34 going into the break.
LeVert had 14 points in the first half for Michigan, which shot 13-of-27 (48 percent) on field goals, including 4-of-9 (44 percent) from three. Gary Harris had 12 points, and Denzel Valentine was right behind with 11 for the Spartans, who went 13-of-22 (59 percent) from the floor and 5-of-11 (46 percent) from beyond the arc before halftime.
Stauskas drove and made a layup on the first possession of the second half to tie the game at 36. He then a hit a jumper at 18:54 to put Michigan ahead 39-38, the first lead for Wolverines since the 17:48 mark in the first half.
After MSU went up 48-43 at 14:40, Stauskas scored seven straight points to give the Maize and Blue a 50-48 lead. He made a three, a driving layup and a jumper from just behind the free throw line at 11:53.
MSU briefly grabbed the lead, 52-51, before the Wolverines scored 13 straight points. Stauskas hit a three from the top of the arc to start the run at 10:04, then hit another three from the wing to make the score 59-52 and force State to call timeout at 8:38. After the stoppage, LeVert nailed a triple and a baseline jam, forcing another Spartans timeout, this one at 7:18.
Robinson threw down a monster dunk off an alley-oop pass from Stauskas to put the Wolverines up 72-61 with 2:33 left in the game and seal the victory, U-M's third straight in the series.
U-M finished 27-of-54 (50 percent) overall and 8-of-19 (42 percent) from long distance. Michigan State went 26-of-48 (54 percent) on field goals, including 9-of-23 (39 percent) on three-point attempts. MSU outrebounded the Wolverines, 31-24, but Michigan forced 13 turnovers while only turning the ball over three times. Harris led State with 21 points, and Adreian Payne posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wolverines travel to Mackey Arena this Wednesday night (Feb. 26) to take on Purdue. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.