ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan State never trailed as Branden Dawson’s 23-point, 13-rebound performance easily pushed the Spartans to an 80-67 win over Michigan Tuesday, the first for MSU at Crisler Center since the 2010 season.
On top of Dawson’s 10-for-12 mark from the field, senior guard Travis Trice caught fire connecting on 4-of-6 attempts from three-point range to finish with 22-points for the Spartans.
Michigan rotated looks defensively early and often, unable to piece together enough stops as Michigan State shot a blistering 62-percent from the field. Offensively, the Wolverines were led by Zak Irvin’s 16-points with four players reaching double figures.
At the first media timeout Michigan was hanging tough down just 8-6 before Michigan State went on a 16-4 run over the next six minutes to open up a 24-10 advantage, sucking the life out of the Crisler Center crowd.
"It's tough to lose a big rivalry game, especially at home,” Albrecht said. “You have to credit them. They played really well, and we aren't going to win many games when we give up 62-percent shooting from the field.
“It's the first time we have lost at home to them in a few years, so it is tough."
The Spartans pushed its lead to 33-14, the largest of the game, following back-to-back buckets by Dawson. Michigan State would lead 38-23 after 20-minutes.
"When we did get him to miss, which wasn't that often, he cleaned up the rebounds,” Michigan coach John Beilein said of Dawson afterward. “He has great hands and great touch around the basket. When he, Trice and (Denzel) Valentine are on the court, even I could get open shots in the wings.
“The backcourt is solid, and it should be. They are really well coached. They have two seniors and a junior who have been at the top of the Big Ten for three years, and they played like it today."
After scoring 18-points in the first meeting against the Spartans, Abdur-Rahkman tried to do the same to start the second half Tuesday.
Abdur-Rahkman scored the first 10-points for the Wolverines coming out of the break. The problems continued for Michigan on the defensive end though, the Spartans still leading by 13-points at the first media timeout.
Michigan cut Michigan State’s lead to as little as 10 before the Spartans went on another run, this time 9-2, and that was the closest the Wolverines would get the rest of the way.
"Every time that we got something, they ended up getting second-chance points or scrambling around to get a layup,” Beilein said. “At different times, our guys lost focus of the clock, and they still had a man to guard. It's part of the process that we have to go through right now."