Michigan State routs rival Michigan in East Lansing

Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Tom Izzo couldn't believe his eyes. Most of the people in jam-packed Breslin Center had the same reaction.
For the first time in 170 meetings, Michigan and Michigan State were both ranked in the Top 10. But only Izzo's Spartans resembled a highly-ranked team throughout the game.
The Spartans led by as much as 31 points and never trailed while stomping the Wolverines 75-52 on Tuesday. Freshman Gary Harris had a team-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers, as No. 8 Michigan State (21-4 overall, 10-2 Big Ten) regained sole possession of first place in the conference, a half-game in front of idle Indiana.
"It was like a perfect storm," Izzo said. "We played about as well as we can play and they did not play as well. I'm not sure we're as good as we played but I'm going to take it. It was a big step for us but don't think that's the real Michigan team because it's not."
Counterpart John Beilein echoed Izzo's sentiments.
"That's the worst we've played in a long, long time," he said. "Credit Michigan State for that. Their experience and post play was big. They really took care of the ball and they offensive rebounded extremely well. There's so many things we played poorly in, it's hard for me to put a finger on it."
Derrick Nix contributed 14 points, Keith Appling had 11 and Branden Dawson added 10 for the Spartans, who have won four straight and 10 of their last 11 games. Michigan State is 14-0 at Breslin this season and has won 32 of their last 33 in the building.
"It says a lot but we've still got to try to remain consistent," Appling said of his team's performance. "If we continue to play like this, the sky's the limit for us."
Trey Burke's 18 points led No. 5 Michigan (21-4, 8-4), which has lost three of its last four games. Burke didn't get much assistance, as his teammates shot a combined 14 for 42 from the field. Tim Hardaway Jr., Burke's backcourt partner who was averaging 16.3 points, had two points while missing 10 of 11 shots.
"Tim Hardaway has been playing as good as any guard in the country," Beilein said. "He just had a really bad night. He'll bounce back like he always has."
Michigan State has won the last two meetings after losing three straight. The teams will play again in Ann Arbor on March 3.
Appling crushed the Wolverines' hopes of a comeback early in the second half. After a Burke three-point play pulled Michigan within 12, 41-29, Appling went on a personal 7-0 run.
He made a jumper while falling down, then drew an offensive foul against Burke. With Burke on the bench briefly, Appling made a foul-line jumper and a transition 3-pointer for a 48-29 lead with 16:30 remaining.
An inside basket by Nix nudged the Spartans' advantage to 21, 52-31. The onslaught continued as a Dawson putback, a Harris 3-pointer and an Adreian Payne jumper made it a 30-point game, 69-39.
Led by Nix, the Spartans dominated inside while taking a 38-24 halftime lead. Nix had 10 points as Michigan State outscored Michigan 24-8 in the paint.
"Our guys on the inside, Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne, that's our bread and butter," Appling said. "Whenever we get the ball in to them, something good always happens."
Harris provided the outside threat, making three 3-pointers, and Dawson contributed eight points and two steals.
Michigan State used a 20-7 run to take its biggest lead of the half, 35-19. Dawson sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy with a steal and dunk and Nix's tip-in made it 26-15.
Another Nix basket inched the advantage to 14, 31-17, and freshman Matt Costello bumped the lead with the first of his two inside baskets during the half.
NOTES: There were only eight previous meetings where both teams were ranked in the Top 25. Michigan leads the all-time series 94-76. ... Spartans backup point guard Travis Trice missed his third consecutive game with post-concussion symptoms. ... Michigan football coach Brady Hoke sat behind the visitors' bench and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was also in attendance. ... Michigan State had a 41-30 rebounding advantage. Minnesota is the only team to out-rebound Michigan State this season. ... Burke is the first Big Ten player to average 17 points and seven assists since Magic Johnson in 1979. ... Spartans freshman guard Denzel Valentine had seven points, four assists and a team-high nine rebounds. ... Beilein, who is now 3-6 against the Spartans, used 15 players in the blowout.

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