Are They Back? Spartans Smack Michigan

The Michigan State Spartans' basketball team had a statement game Saturday afternoon with rival Michigan, and they made it with a resounding strike. MSU's 71-54 dismantling of the Wolverines may hand the Spartans the momentum they need. Game analysis inside.

The Michigan State Spartans' basketball team had a statement game Saturday afternoon with rival Michigan, and they made it with a resounding strike.

In a game that featured a flurry of early first half action, including a 7-for-7 performance from beyond the three-point line for both teams combined, the Spartans (7-7, 2-1 Big Ten) pulled away and never looked back.

Michigan (10-4, 1-2) never responded to a 12-2 Michigan State run that closed the first half 32-23, despite harboring a 19-15 lead earlier in the contest.

Michigan State was led by Paul Davis, who poured in 22 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, in addition to nine points apiece from Maurice Ager and Alan Anderson.

ANALYSIS

This was a must-win game for Tom Izzo's squad, besides the desperate need to garner a conference win and gain momentum. Michigan entered the contest with a stronger record, and better play, leaving many to ponder whether or not the Wolverines had leap-frogged MSU on the program level. If Saturday's result was any indication, Amacker's squad still has a long way to go.

Michigan State also controlled the glass (29-25), but perhaps more importantly, held Michigan to 36 percent shooting. It was the Izzo-Ball that this team hasn't displayed all season long, and they picked an opportune time to showcase what they're capable of.

In the meantime, the Spartans may have finally found their court leader. Sophomore Paul Davis stepped up with 22 points, playing solid defense in the interior, and providing the Michigan State offense with both stability and spark. Izzo has yet to have any player take the lead role, but commented previously on Davis' will to win and become a leader. He has apparently found his man.

With two consecutive Big Ten wins, just the Spartans' second winning streak this season, Izzo and crew has much needed momentum with a difficult road task ahead. The Spartans must travel to Northwestern, Purdue and Minnesota all within the same week beginning January 21st. It's a formidable challenge that will determine whether or not MSU can challenge for the conference's top dog.


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