Michigan was forced to play “next man up” basketball today, and dropped a hard fought battle to Michigan State on the road, 76-66.
John Beilein had his shorthanded squad focused and ready to play. The Wolverines beat Michigan State out of the gate, taking an 8-3 lead to start the contest. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman started hot, scoring a quick seven points off of penetration and a pure jumper. MAAR was the only player that was able to create offense for Michigan in the first half, and the Wolverines lost production when he sat down with his second foul only nine minutes into the game.
Michigan’s defense looked great whenever it held the Spartans to a half court set. Michigan State was cold, shooting only 4-for-16 from the field early on. Michigan took a 7-0 run and a 15-8 lead into the second media timeout.
Andrew Dakich played 12 minutes in the first half and teamed up with Sean Lonergan in the backcourt for a good period of time after Spike Albrecht got into foul trouble and joined MAAR on the bench.
Michigan State rebounded 44% of its misses, while Michigan only collected one offensive rebound. As the half came to a close, the Spartans got hot from deep and nailed some second-chance triples, going on a 15-3 run.
Michigan State lead 29-24.
After the break, both offenses took flight. Michigan scored 13 points in the first four minutes of the second half and both teams continued to trade blows between media timeouts. MAAR picked up right where he left off, scoring a couple of quick baskets. Michigan State seemed to have no answer for him.
The Wolverines have a great flow on offense with MAAR and Albrecht in the backcourt, and Zak Irvin really benefits when the offense doesn’t flow through him. He was able to score a couple of big baskets in the second half, and finally put the ball on the floor instead of only settling for jumpers.
With 2:18 left on the clock, it was all knotted up at 61 a piece. Bielfeldt had a terrible turnover with just under two minutes to play, and Bryn Forbes nailed a corner three to put the Spartans up 66-61, a part of a late 9-0 run.
With forty seconds to play, Spike pulled up from big league range and nailed a triple cutting the deficit to two. Michigan sent Denzel Valentine to the line where he missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity.
After a tip-in by Bielfeldt with 19.8 seconds left, Michigan tied the game at 66. Travis Trice missed the go-ahead bucket as time expired, and the game entered overtime.
Michigan had no answer for Michigan State in overtime, as the Spartans took a six-point lead with 2:35 to play. Michigan could not find any offensive production and dropped in this one. The final score was 76-66, in favor of Michigan State.
Michigan Team Leaders
Points: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Spike Albrecht — 18
Assists: Zak Irvin— 3
Rebounds: Max Bielfeldt — 9
Michigan State Team Leaders
Points: Denzel Valentine — 25
Assists: Travis Trice — 9
Rebounds: Branden Dawson — 10