Michigan State, No. 10, tops rival Michigan 83-67 with depth

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Michigan’s Eli Brooks, left, and Michigan State’s Tyson Walker battle for a loose fly ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, in East Lansing, Michigan (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

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Michigan State No. 10 sent waves of players to its rivals and Michigan couldn’t do much about it.

Max Christie scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half and reserve Malik Hall finished with 15 points, leading the Spartans to an 83-67 victory over the Wolverines on Saturday.

“One of our main keys was really exhausting them,” Christie said.

Michigan State (16-4, 7-2 Big Ten) pulled away beating Michigan 14-3 early in the second half and had no trouble keeping a comfortable cushion.

“We’re this close to being really, really good,” coach Tom Izzo said.

The Wolverines (10-8, 4-4) started strong, leading by as much as six points in the first half. Michigan trailed by just four at halftime, but missed its first eight shots in the second half and failed to rebound at either end of the field.

“They came out the most aggressive team, the most physical team,” coach Juwan Howard said.

Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson had 14 of his 25 points in the first half. He didn’t score in the second half until he got to the line with 7:56 left and he quickly scored six points to put the Wolverines within 11 points.

Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate scored 11 apiece for Wolverines.

“We competed, but we didn’t compete for 40 minutes,” Howard said.

The Spartans’ bench beat Michigan 20-0 at one point early in the second half, a key factor that saw them overcome leading scorer Gabe Brown, who was held scoreless for nearly 27 minutes.

Michigan State’s Joey Hauser scored 14 points, AJ Hoggard had 11 points and a career-high 10 assists. Not counting double-digit goalscorers, four other players had at least two shots for the Spartans. Even Keon Coleman, who plays wide receiver for the Spartans, made a layup late in the game when Izzo emptied his bench.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: It’s hard to win shooting just 37 percent, as Howard’s team discovered. Dickinson scored a lot, but he was 8 of 19 and Eli Brooks was 3 of 11 and had eight points.

The Wolverines missed 16 of 19 3-pointers.

“Some of them were good shots,” Howard said.

Michigan State: Brown, who is averaging 13 points, didn’t score until midway through the second half and it didn’t hurt the Spartans as their reserves outscored Michigan 33-6. Brown finished with nine points.

HE SAID IT

Michigan started the season ranked 6th, talking openly about their national title aspirations. Now the Wolverines need to close out the regular season strong just to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“Every game from now on is a must win for us,” Dickinson said.

REMATCH

Game 1 scheduled for Jan. 8 at Michigan was canceled because the Wolverines had an outbreak of COVID-19. Three weeks later, the postponed game is still not on the schedule.

“All I hear is going to be March,” Izzo said.

Howard said he was in.

“We’re going to play anyone, anywhere, anytime,” Howard said.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY

Michigan State can stay at No. 10 in the AP Top 25 after beating Michigan by 16 and losing to No. 24 Illinois by one point earlier in the week.

BIG TEN RACE

Michigan State moved into first place in the Big Ten with No. 11s Wisconsin and Illinois, but Fighting Illini won later in the day to be alone atop the conference.

FANS IN THE GALLERY

Michigan State’s arena was packed and as loud as ever, giving the Spartans a boost and another problem for Michigan.

“I think that kinda messed them up a bit,” Michigan State forward Marcus Bingham said.

Even Howard was a fan of the experiment.

“I love atmospheres like this as a player and a coach,” he said.

SENIOR MOMENT

Fans chanted “Joe-y! Joe-y!” after the much maligned Hauser dived to deflect an entry pass to Dickinson. The commotion led to a jump ball with the Spartans leading 74-56 with 3:47 remaining.

“It brought tears to my eyes to hear the crowd singing Joey Hauser,” Izzo said.

FOLLOWING

Michigan: Host Nebraska on Tuesday night.

Michigan State: Plays at Maryland on Tuesday night.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter. com/AP_Top25

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