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Michigan basketball loses yet another close game, 73-63

Michigan football drops another close basketball game at home, this time to Michigan State.



Michigan basketball
Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

ANN ARBOR, MI. – In the 194th edition of this storied Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, the Spartans came out valiant. The turnover bug once again bit Michigan basketball, as it had 22 turnovers (12 more than Michigan State). Juwan Howard addressed this in the postgame saying, “when you have 22 turnovers, it’s tough to win.” Despite making it tough on themselves, the Wolverines were still tied with 7 minutes to go before ending the game on the wrong side of a 10-0 run.

Michigan basketball first-half

Michigan State fifth-year senior Malik Hall kicked off the scoring in tonight’s affair much to the big MSU contingent’s pleasure. Although this game was played in Ann Arbor, it felt like a 50/50 crowd. State fans traveled very well from Michigan’s capital.

After Hall’s opening bucket, Michigan got out to a solid 5-0 run led by a Jaelin Llewellyn and-one. A back-and-forth first half began after that early Wolverine spark. This early battle was backed by 10 points combined between Llewellyn and Tarris Reed Jr. Malik Hall and Tyson Walker held down the fort for the Spartans, also combining for 10 points before the first media timeout.

Scoring was at much more of a premium in the next 4 minutes, with the Michigan teams missing their last 9 shots before the second media timeout. Play was sloppy all around with both teams having 4 turnovers apiece in the first 9 minutes of play.

This sloppy play did not last for long, as Michigan State took over the momentum with a 6-2  run including a flagrant foul on an attempted Coen Carr poster. What followed was a Spartan foul frenzy propelling Michigan into the bonus. The Wolverines did not take advantage of MSU’s blunder, missing their one-and-one. Despite Michigan State’s seemingly dominant play, Michigan continued to hang around with only a three-point deficit once the third first-half media timeout had been reached.

Sparty’s dominance finally translated into a large lead after what was a back-and-forth game, riding a 7-0 run capped off by a high-flying Coen Carr fast break dunk. Juwan Howard’s timeout with 4:21 remaining in the first half was spurred by the largest Spartan lead of 9 points. 

Out of the third media timeout, a fired-up Dug McDaniel did not let the MSU lead get out of reach, taking the game into his own hands with a 7-0 personal run. This gave the Crisler Center the spark it so desperately needed. 

As halftime approached, Michigan’s 3-point shooting was what kept it in the game. The Wolverines hit 5 of their 13 attempts, while the Spartans were a measly 0-5 behind the arc. This advantage helped keep Michigan basketball in the game, only trailing by 2 heading into the locker room.

New backcourt starting mates Dug McDaniel and Jaelin Llewellyn shined in the first half, combining for 19 points, while the frontcourt of Malik Hall and Coen Carr did the most damage for Michigan State, combining for 16 points.

Michigan basketball second-half

“Let’s go blue” chants reigned in with 16 minutes to go in the game after Michigan opened the half on an 11-4 run. This was in large part due to star Dug McDaniel’s play. He did it all in the first 4 minutes, nailing a 3-pointer and adding on an assist and a steal.

Michigan kept a 2-5 point lead for the majority of the first latter 10 minutes. Michigan’s frontcourt stepped up after the backcourt had its great first half. Reed Jr. and Nkamhoua led the Wolverines’ scoring attack with seven and six points respectively heading into the second-half media timeout. 

10 minutes was the only amount of time that Michigan was able to hang onto its precious lead. Michigan State compiled a 9-0 run including a Jaden Akins three. With 8:38 remaining, MSU led 61-56. 

What seemed like a blow that Michigan would not come back from ended up turning into motivation. The Wolverines responded with a 5-0 run of their own to tie the game up at 61. Burnett’s rattled in corner 3 brought back life into the Maize and Blue atmosphere in the Crisler Center. 

Michigan’s brief run was tail-ended by a three-and-a-half-minute scoring drought. On one end Malik Hall was slamming the ball after having a wide-open lane, and on the other, the Wolverines were perennially turning the ball over. On the offense’s struggles, Juwan Howard said that “we did not have enough ball movement to make Michigan State’s defense move side to side.”

Upon an 8-0 run from Michigan State to bring its lead to 8 with 3:25 to go, “Go green, go white” chants overpowered the Michigan band’s fight song. Compounding this with fans donning maize heading for the exits was a perfect encapsulation of how this season has gone for Howard and the Wolverines. They just can’t piece together 40 minutes of good play.

As the buzzer rang, Michigan State ended its four-game losing streak in Ann Arbor. Led by an efficient 18 points (8-13 from the field) from forward Malik Hall, the Spartans had themselves a nice Saturday night. 

Meanwhile, Dug McDaniel led the way for the Wolverines with 13 points (4-13 from the field). This was not nearly enough for Michigan as it dropped to 8-18 (3-12 Big Ten).

Michigan basketball has a four-day break before heading west to Evanston to take on the (17-8, 8-6 Big Ten) Northwestern Wildcats.

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Henry has covered college basketball for around 3 years, including the beat for multiple schools. Prior to Michigan, his work was centered around the Big East and DePaul basketball specifically. His experience includes multiple NCAA tournaments and a Big East tournament. Now, Henry serves as the credentialed basketball reporter for Blue by Ninety.