Another high-profile loss has Michigan State reeling a bit. The Spartans should be comforted by the knowledge that they’ll have a pretty accurate scouting report on their next opponent’s best player.
The ninth-ranked Spartans put their 43-game non-conference home win streak on the line when they face Wofford and high-scoring forward Noah Dahlman, the younger brother of Michigan State senior Isaiah Dahlman.
Michigan State (5-2) has lost two of three following an 89-82 loss at No. 10 North Carolina on Tuesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Spartans have dropped three games to the Tar Heels over the last two seasons, falling in the 2009 NCAA title game.
“It’s getting pretty sickening,” forward Draymond Green said. “They’re a top program in the nation, but so are we.”
Michigan State suffered its first loss last Friday against Florida, and is looking to bounce back in a two-game stretch against Southern Conference foes with a trip to face The Citadel on Monday.
The Spartans are 5-0 all-time against the Southern Conference, but have yet to face Wofford (4-4). The Terriers star is Noah Dahlman, a 6-foot-6 forward who leads the conference in scoring with 18.0 points per game. Him and Isaiah Dahlman - a 6-foot-6 Spartans forward - teamed to win three straight state titles at Braham Area High School in Minnesota.
Isaiah Dahlman finished his career as Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer with 3,366 points, while Noah Dahlman ended his career as the state’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,434.
The Dahlman brothers’ grandfather is John Kundla, who coached George Mikan and the Minneapolis Lakers to five championships.
Michigan State isn’t worried as much about the brothers’ matchup as it is about its play. The Spartans made 2 of 20 3-pointers on Tuesday after sinking 2 of 10 in the loss to the Gators.
“I’ve said all along we’re not where those guys are yet, and I think it’s evident,” coach Tom Izzo said Tuesday. “It’s OK to lose to them, but it’s the first time we’ve really competed in the last three games. So maybe that’s a start in the right direction, but you’ve got to win games too.”
Big Ten preseason player of the year Kalin Lucas scored 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting while reserve guards Chris Allen and Korie Lucious combined for 10 points and missed all 11 3-pointers against the Tar Heels.
“Some guys have to step up,” Izzo said. “I was really disappointed in a couple of guys’ performance.”
Michigan State hasn’t lost at home to a non-conference foe since a 72-50 loss to Duke on Dec. 3, 2003. The Spartans have won their four home games this season by an average of 21.5 points.
Wofford missed a chance at a third straight win in its conference opener, a 72-67 loss at Western Carolina on Wednesday. Noah Dahlman had 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Terriers turned in a similar effort to the Spartans’ last game, making 4 of 22 3-pointers.
“I don’t think our ball movement was what it needed to be,” coach Mike Young said. “We weren’t as aggressive with too many 3s and not enough in the post.”