The Michigan Wolverines got the bounce-back win they were looking for, beating their in-state rival, Michigan State Spartans, 58-57 on Sunday afternoon. The already crowded table in the Big Ten Conference just got tighter.
In the fall of 2012, Michigan played Michigan State in football. The Wolverines didn’t score a touchdown but managed to win, 12-10, in Ann Arbor. Fast forward to Sunday. The jump-shooting Wolverines live and die behind the 3-point line. No luck from the long line for Michigan against Sparty. No 3-point shots on Sunday.
USA TODAY Sports National College Basketball Reporter, Nicole Auerbach, was in shock, stating on her Twitter (@NicoleAuerbach): “Michigan won without hitting a single 3-pointer. Wow!”
Michigan won without hitting a single 3-pointer. Wow!
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 3, 2013
Michigan Coach Beilein summed it up by saying “it wasn’t pretty, but it sure was gritty.” Beilein went on to say, “today was all about grit.”
Michigan was 0-for-12 from the 3-point line. In a turn of the tables, Michigan State was not the team dominating in the paint. The Wolverines had an advantage of 44-26 for points in the paint, showing more toughness down low.
Trey Burke continued to lead the Wolverines with a clutch performance on both sides of the ball. The point guard made his case for being a Wooden Award candidate. Playing 38 out of the 40 minutes, Burke put up 21 points, 8 assists, 5 steals, 4 rebounds, 1 block and a partridge in a pear tree.
With the game tied at 56-56, the Spartans had the possession with a chance to take the lead. Keith Appling took a look at MSU coach, Tom Izzo, and didn’t protect the ball. Burke made him pay by swiping the ball clean and going for an uncontested dunk that gave Michigan a 58-56 lead.
Michigan State got another chance to win the game with 17.7 seconds left. MSU’s Derrick Nix was fouled on the possession and made 1 of 2 free throws to make it a 58-57 game. Michigan State would again get the ball back with a chance to win the game. For the 3rd time, Sparty would come up short.
Trey Burke came up with his 2nd steal in the final 25 seconds to seal the deal and give Michigan its biggest win of the season. The blowout between these 2 teams in East Lansing seems like ages ago and as it stands now, Michigan is 11-5 in the Big Ten and 24-5 overall.
Former Michigan football legend Desmond Howard went to Twitter to let his feeling about Burke known, stating: “Trey Burke is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. #GoBlue”
The defensive efforts from Michigan are not to be overlooked when it comes to this win. The Wolverines had a steal advantage of 11-3 and forced the Spartans into 18 turnovers. If you’re playing Blackjack, 18 is an adequate amount. When it comes to the basketball turnover stat sheet, it’s enough to lose sleep over.
While the win over Michigan State is huge for bragging rights, it also sets the course for the month of March. The madness has only begun and the Wolverines needed to steer the ship to get ready for the weeks ahead. As Coach Beilein said: “For our team, it’s important to get a boost in our step.”
NICOLE AUERBACH LINK: https://twitter.com/NicoleAuerbach
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