Game 25: Michigan State at Michigan Post Game

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan State pulls out the ugly win in a 55 possession game in Ann Arbor.

Michigan got off to a decent start but the wheels started falling off when Stu Douglass picked up his second foul with 10:35 remaining. Michigan was down 11-10 at that point but Michigan State finished the half on a 12-5 run over the next 10 minutes. Michigan scored only 2 points in the last 9 minutes of the half, the offense just couldn’t produce once Douglass went to the bench.

I’m not sure exactly why but I think going forward this team needs Douglass on the court a lot more than 17 minutes. Even when Douglass isn’t hitting his shots he makes the right pass or the right cut, and everything flows. With Lucas-Perry on the floor the offense is much more stagnant and usually resulted in a Manny Harris isolation play with less than 10 seconds on the shot clock. This happened at least 4 or 5 times in the first half and Manny didn’t get any good looks.

The first half really spiraled out of control in the final 2 minutes when a four point lead ballooned to eight. That might not sound like a lot but these three plays really swung the momentum in Michigan State’s favor at halftime:

  • Korie Lucious double dribble is missed, ends up in easy Michigan State layup.
  • A Grady three pointer rattles around the rim before rolling out.
  • Gibson misses two free throws after an intentional foul negates what was an easy dunk before Novak’s three point attempt is blocked.

The second half was a different beast. Michigan made several runs in the second half and then Michigan State would push the lead back to double digits. Michigan just couldn’t get over the hump as they continuously shot themselves in the foot. You have to give credit to Michigan State for making the big plays but a lot of the blame falls on Michigan for not making the plays themselves. Every time that Michigan had a chance to cut the lead to one possession something happened; anything from an easy baby hook that rolled in and out, a turnover right after a steal, an errant pass out of bounds or poor shot selection — there was always something.

Michigan had the lead cut to four points with 4:25 left to play but a Manny Harris pull up three point shot bricked off the iron before Kalin Lucas drained a three pointer on the other end. Michigan forced a turnover after cutting the back down to 5 points after a pair of Douglass free throws. But in the end, Manny Harris tried to take it himself on the 2 on 3 fastbreak and Travis Walton made a hell of a play to knock the ball out. Those were probably Michigan’s two best chances to really make this a game.

The fact that Michigan even had a chance late in the game is remarkable when you consider that they were 4 of 24 from long range and turned the ball over on 23.6% of their possessions. In the end the difference in this game was at the free throw line. Michigan State got to the line more often with a free throw rate of 44.2% to Michigan’s 23.9% and also shot a higher percentage when they got there (78.9% compared to Michigan’s dreadful 54.5%). Michigan held tough on the glass but in the end turnovers and poor shooting got the best of them.

The good news is that this team seems to have learned how to play defense. The bad news is that they still can’t seem to play solid offense in conference. This loss hurts for a multitude of reasons but most of all it is now or never for Michigan’s NCAA tournament hopes. The next four games will determine Michigan’s tournament chances: @Northwestern, Minnesota, @Iowa, and Purdue. At this point it looks like Michigan probably needs a 4-game winning streak.

Quick Notes: Trey Zeigler was at the game and got an earful from the Michigan State team as they ran by after the final buzzer. Is there any kind of penalty for a coach being on the floor during play? I guess not if you are Tom Izzo.

Player Bullets:

  • DeShawn Sims: Great game for DeShawn, without him this would have be a rout. Peedi had a monster second half en route to 18 points on 9 of 14 shooting with 4 rebounds and a steal. DeShawn did all of his work down low until late in the game and if he can find that post presence down the stretch that would be a big boost for Michigan.
  • Manny Harris: Not Manny’s greatest game to say the least. There were several people calling for Manny’s head in the comments and after watching the game again I wouldn’t go quite that far. Manny definitely didn’t have a good game but Travis Walton is a great defender and watching the tape he did a great job on Manny all night. Manny also had 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals so he contributed in other ways. He did get backdoored at least once (on the alley oop) and I think once more in the second half by Durrell Summers; falling asleep on defense has to stop.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry: Ugh, nothing good here. Laval hit a three but he just looked bad all around. Bad defense, bad offense, bad ball handling. I don’t know what to do here. Right now this system isn’t clicking for Laval Lucas-Perry, his struggles go well beyond a shooting slump.
  • Zack Novak: Novak is a gamer, he is clearly worn down from guarding big men all year long but he had some flashes of great play. His best stretch included a three point make, a three point miss followed by an offensive board and dish to Sims, and a great back door pass to Sims for a dunk.
  • Stu Douglass: Stu can’t afford to pick up that many fouls. Some of them were cheap and some of them were on hustle plays but at this point Michigan needs Stu on the floor.
  • Zack Gibson: Besides those two missed free throws this was a great game for Zack. He did just about everything that you could ask of him in my book.
  • CJ Lee: I found out when I got home that CJ was throwing up in a trash can during the second half. There is nothing you can’t love about this kid. Michigan could use a little scoring out of CJ but I thought he did a great job against Kalin Lucas despite Lucas scoring a few points down the stretch.
  • Kelvin Grady, Jevohn Shepherd, Dave Merritt: These three gave Michigan nothing.

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  • SpartanDan

    “Is there any kind of penalty for a coach being on the floor during play?”

    There’s supposed to be, but unless it’s really egregious or the coach clearly interferes with play it’s never called on anyone.

  • jg

    sigh. we needed this one in the worst way.

  • Last night was a perfect example of why Michigan should go to Sims more often. Instead of chucking up threes at an unbelievable rate, feed the big man down low. He is a force down there.

    I hope you all make the tournament, but it doesn’t look good right now. I think you will have to be one game over .500 to get into the big dance.

  • jack simms

    there’s nothing to say. i think draymond green would start for us, he barely plays for state. hell, i think both korey lucious and chris allen would start for us, they barely play for state. the tempo/# of possessions for last night’s game were exactly where we wanted them but we still just don’t have the talent

  • JimC

    Yes, please delete TheES’ comment.

    Tell him to go MLive’s forums, and he can be as obnoxious, and anonymous as he wants.

  • ToBlav

    When I read your article on the Spartan site I was afraid we’d get some of the Spartan negatoids on here. TheES proves my concern valid. At least we know that they have dweebs that we’d have trouble matching.
    State’s defense is what I thought made the difference. Beilein is an amazing coach, he’s still got only two guys anybody else at this level wanted and has them playing competetive basketball.
    Could you please clarify the “earful” Trey got from the Spartan team.
    Thanks in advance.

  • JimC

    Calling for Manny’s head, or anything like that, is ridiculous. The guys on offense were just relying on him way too much, and MSU’s defense was just plain great. Seeing the shot clock go down to 3 over and over did get annoying. But not Manny’s fault that he’s the only player who can create off the dribble.

    I still think Shep should’ve seen more minutes, because he’s not afraid to drive. Not that it would’ve changed the outcome.
    Novak’s a good passer, but he’s slow, can’t jump, and seems to max out at 1 three pointer now.

  • When Beilen put Shep in the first half he gave up an offensive board and then had a very stupid foul on the arm for a 3 point play. He’s got a short leash.

    MSU played great defense, no doubt about it. But Michigan just has to make more plays.

  • gpsimms

    i think jsimms should get banned for his filthy mouth and bad attitude.

  • Zeke

    I, too, was curious about what the “earful” meant.

    BTW, as a Spartan alumni, I can honestly say I am completely embarrassed by TheES. What a tool. I enjoyed the collaboration between you and KJ… it perpetuates the rivalry in a positive way. Keep up the excellent work.

  • From what I was told, just the basics; “this is why you should come to MSU” etc. He was sitting in the first row right by the tunnel.

  • Also, RE: Izzo. There was just one play really that seemed a bit ridiculous, I think the one when Kalin got hurt. Izzo is jumping up and down on the court, then gets shooed back by Hightower before coming right back out there. It just seemed odd and seemed like something you don’t see very often.

  • AG2

    Its like I said last night, Northwestern can’t beat Michigan. They just can’t let MSU beat them again on Sunday. You’d be amazed how much the buzz surrounding your team can chance from “oh, they lost 7 of their last 10” to “wow, they won 4 in a row!”

  • cwood

    LLP just cant get a grasp on this system. There were 4 or 5 times this game where he missed a wide open cutter. It seems as if he is dribbling with his head down and as a result, our offense just cant function effectivly when hes in the game.

  • Jacob

    You shouldn’t be so hard on Manny, even on D. When he got backdoored for the -oop it was really Gibson’s fault – Manny saw the cut coming and pointed and yelled at Zack to switch and pick up the cutter but he missed it. Overall I was real impressed today by Manny’s D, he did get burned once in the second half on Summers’ cut, but he seemed like he was really up on the scouting report and reading State’s plays better than most of our defenders.

  • Rob

    As much as I love C.J. Lee’s hustle and determination, he gives us very little on the offensive end. When he was on the floor without the ball, State basically pulled his defender off of him to help cut off any drives by Manny. You could see it when Michigan would swing the ball around to Lee: every time he caught that pass there was a different defender coming out on him to deny a shot. Grady needs to get his defense together because he is part of what makes this offense click. His ability to drive and kick out or dish to the weakside big man is something that we’ve been missing lately. It’s too bad we can’t combine those two…

  • El Capitan

    Sure Manny played some great defense throughout the game, but at the same time on offense he played some of the dumbest basketball I have ever seen out of him. Now, some of that can be attributed to MSU’s defense, but too many times he settled for the outside shot (and many times even those were taken with a foot or two inside the arc, which is in my opinion the worst part of the game). He needs to start slashing more often so that the defense starts creeping up in anticipation. Then, after a few takes the hoops, the kick-out to Novak in the corner will be that much simpler.

    And Stu, even though he had a rough game, has definitely become one of my favorite players. Both him and Novak play with the most intensity on the team (after CJ of course). While Novak seems to show his intensity by being thrown around by the other team’s big men and following his shots, Stu is a warrior up there on top of the 1-3-1. His face may tell you he’s calm, but he really does play some great defense, not to mention he takes command of running the offense at times when he plays point.

    Hopefully Vogrich plays that same way…

  • TrueBlueAlum

    I’ve got a different issue to bring up: the lame UM fan support at the game!

    As a season ticket holder (2 sets) for football, and a frequent BBall goer, I am embarrassed by how many fans just sit there and don’t cheer. NO passion by them, just an occaisional clap…

    At last nights game, there were many times the 1,000 State fans were louder than our 12,000. In fact, I almost got in a fight last night because my son got pelted with pennies and a paperwad for standing the last 4 minutes when the game was close and rooting them on…by other Michigan fans no less!! They said he was blocking their view, at which point it was the STATE fans by me who yelled back to them “you should be standing too…and cheering on your team!”

    And this is definately not the first time I’ve witnessed this apathy…in fact, it seems more the norm than vice versa. Go watch a game at the Breslin, and you will see what it means to have home court advantage. It’s time for the fans to lift the players up, and not wait for a big play to lift the fans up! Go Blue, but go louder!!!!!

  • James

    The amount of holding and checking off the ball the refs were allowing the defenders to get away with was ridiculous. This partially explains why there was a whooping 38 points scored total in the first half.

  • jmblue

    Was it me, or could DeShawn not buy a whistle when he got the ball inside? I thought I saw at least two baskets that should have been and ones. The refs weren’t the difference in the game, but I’m irritated that our stars don’t seem to get the respect that other teams’ do.

  • Adam

    I agree with Rob. Grady needs to get more minutes because he is the only player on the team besides Manny that can get to the basket. He does not even need to score to be effective. He can drive and kick it out to shooters. When teams are playing in your face defense and taking away the 3 point shot like MSU was, you need a guy to break it down off the dribble to make them back off. I can’t really seem to understand the lack of minutes for Grady because I do not think he has been any worse than LLP and Merritt.

    In fact he provides much more than either of those 2. When we were playing good ball against Duke, UCLA, Illinois, etc. Grady was playing 30 minutes a game and now he can’t even seem to get 10 minutes a game. I do not know what happened there but he needs to get back in the rotation or there is no hope for the offense the rest of the season.

  • SpartanDan

    James, jmblue: I didn’t see last night’s game (got stuck at the lab late), but in general Hightower has a tendency to let anything short of assault and battery go in the paint while calling a ton of ticky-tack stuff on the outside. So I think it probably had less to do with the fact that it was Sims and more to do with the fact that it was Hightower.

  • There were some cheap and-ones that Delvon got for sure, I guess they could be called but I thought a few were a bit ticky tack.

    There was also the foul on Douglass when Suton was storming up the lane, Stu reached in about midway through the key before Goran took another dribble and ran into Novak while shooting. The foul went on Stu and it was his fourth, that one killed me.

    I thought Peedi could have got a few calls but none of them were really “assault”. Michigan State did a good job allowing him to just get his 2 points for the most part although there were 2 I think that I was outraged about at the game, looking at the film they maybe weren’t so bad but ESPN didn’t show a lot of replays.

  • GregGoBlue

    I think the most amazing thing about this season is that we’re a competitive team with two young studs and a bunch of nobody’s and walk-ons. It showed last night when Manny was shut down and we needed somebody else to step up. Peedi did all he could (miraculous game, btw), but we simply don’t have the consistent talent yet.

    I think Grady has suffered from not having played much lately. He seemed jittery and unsettled.

    Stu is a defensive liability when he’s on the court. He needs to improve his defense if he wants to be a better contributor. If I were the other team and I was worried about Stu getting hot on offense, I’d just go straight at him on D, let him pick up a few fouls, and shut down Manny. Recipe for success.

  • Giddings

    Regarding the fouls, there were some awful calls both ways and the officiating was horribly inconsistent, but I re-watched the 2nd half last night and still cannot believe some of the stuff that MSU was getting away with on DeShawn’s close-range buckets. There were three times that Peedi should have been at the line for an and-one if the refs would have called it consistent with the and-ones that Roe got in the 1st half (the Shep foul comes to mind, as he barely grazed the tip of Roe’s elbow).

    The worst was when Novak missed the three, got the rebound, and dumped it to Peedi for a layup. Draymond Green clearly hacks Peedi’s left arm as he goes up and the official is staring right at it, yet no call. Peedi also drew contact from two Sparties on the dunk from Novak’s drive and dish.

    Also, I thought the fouls with 2-3 minutes left by Manny (on Allen) and CJ (on Lucas) were both ridiculous calls, although it seems like the refs made up for it at least once on our end, giving Manny two free throws.

  • Avery Queen

    If I’m a player on our team right now my mentality has got to be: well that was it. That was our chance to get back to even and be in really good shape down the stretch. We played a couple good games coming into this and here’s a chance to stick it to our rivals and we blew it. Now we are in the hole and lost the building confidence we just had. On top of that we have to go on the road.

    If Beilein can fix that then he’s a great coach.

  • James

    SpartanDan: They were actually calling little on the outside as well. Defenders would have two hands on the ball carrier and a foul would never be called.

    I honestly think the Big Ten is a “slow” league more due to lousy officiating than coaching style.

  • AG2

    Avery Queen, that’s ridiculous, this team is headed into the softest part of the schedule with Northwestern Minnesota and Iowa as the next three.

  • Andy

    Too much Roe, too good of defense by MSU, too many opportunities slipping through UM’s fingers in the last 10 minutes. Not a horrible showing, but about what I expected.

    A quick note to defend the “blue hairs” or whatever you want to call the people that sit in the blues and don’t make a lot of noise. I’ve been to almost every game in the last 15 years and that’s just the way it is. It’s not exactly like there’s been any demand for their tickets. The same people have been going to these games as long as I can remember. They may not be loud, but they are passionate, knowledgable and obviously very devoted to have been their through it all. There are lots of different types of fans. Don’t bag on people just because they don’t act or handle themselves the same way you do.

  • Andy

    Quick suggestion to Dylan. Maybe make your outside links open in a new window. I tend to accidentally close the whole thing out when I’m done reading a link because I assume it opened in a different window when I was directed to an outside website. Might just be me.

  • Beast1530

    MSU does a very good job of pressuring Michigan. Michigan could’ve used Kelvin Grady on the floor with his quickness and speed. He can break down defenders(that is if he’s aggressive but he’s never aggressive) and kick it out to open players.

    Michigan defense played well IMO. For the most part, they did a good job of not letting Kalin Lucas do a lot of damage with dribble penetrations. Kalin Lucas just killed Michigan with timely 3’s.

    It’s clear to me that LLP is struggling to grasp JB’s system. He’s not making the right reads and the spacing on the floor looked worse with him on the floor. With Stu and Novak, the offense flows better and there’s better spacing. Another reason why Stu’s foul trouble hurt Michigan. Next year, hopefully LLP can grasp the system and the offense will be better overall. IMO, LLP coming in mid-season threw a wrench into Michigan’s rotation as well as chemistry. Michigan was playing so well early on and they knew what to do offensively. LLP should be coming off the bench and start Stu at the 2.

  • Dave

    LLP has definitely plagued this team…….they were playing great when he became eligible and practically every game since he has joined the team they have looked bad, next year will be a different story though for sure

  • noahtahl

    cj lee playing 68 minutes in last 2 games and scoring 2 points with 7 assists and 5 turnovers is not gonna cut it.

    jb has either decided to use lee’s intensity as a teaching tool or he has gone insane.

    there is something wrong with lee taking 4 shots and douglas taking 2.what is jb thinking? pass the ball for 30 seconds and give ur shooters 5 seconds to set up for a jump shot.sounds familiar?remember ta. I am pissed. where r the game adjustments? is this against jb’s coaching philosophy?

    it was obvious what izzo’s defensive plan was after 5 minutes…take manny out of the offense with a tight man to man and help from lee’s defender and novack’s defender(I know and u know where novack hangs out), hang tight on stu,put 1 on 1 against sims and gibson. sims had his way all is not goddamn rocket science, take what they give and do not force it.

    with perry, novack and lee on the court it is 2 on 5 offensively.harris does not have a chance. this is the same defense that conn.,ohio st.,purdue, wisconsin,and mich. st. have run. stop harris and michigan will fail.

    this is insanity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robert04

    I agree.
    Yet another question for Dylan and company.
    I think Matt Vogrich could be a pretty good recruit and shooter to space the floor. Perhaps D-Mo can be a better shooting poor man’s manny harris or at least a true big ten level point guard. My question is are Cronin, Morgan, and McLimans good enough to compete in the Big ten and over take Z. Gibson or at the other extreme allow him to start?

  • michigan fan

    The first half on offense we often just passed the ball around and around outside the 3 point line. State was all over our 3 point shooters. With a few seconds left we would shoot a poor percentage shot. We don’t have much of an inside game. Either set screens on the outside to free up the shooters (which we didn’t do the first half) or get another option(other than Manny) to dribble drive to the basket which is Grady.

  • Avery Queen


    I hardly consider two road games and a home game vs. Minnesota a soft part of the schedule based on our road performances.

    And my point was that the loss was extremely disheartening (1) because it was our rivals and (2) because it was a self-declared must win game (i.e. “This is a must win” – Manny Harris). And it really was a must win in terms of confidence and record.

    So after that loss it can’t be easy to get pumped to go on the road to play the not-so-great but dangerous Wildcats knowing that even if you win that one you still gotta win 3 more.

    Therefore, if Beilein can get the troops rallied for Sunday then he deserves praise.

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  • Giddings

    Here’s what I can draw from Beilein’s decision to go with a heavy dose of CJ in the past few games:

    1) He wants to challenge Kelvin to improve his defense and play with more hustle and desire.
    2) He has finally recognized (after watching our team lay bricks for the last month) that we cannot win games by simply outscoring teams (playing great offense and mediocre defense)… therefore he needed to focus on upgrading the defense rather than continuing to try and tinker with the offense.

  • Ken in Vegas

    I don’t really understand Beilein’s methodology when it comes to creating line-ups and substituting. It’s never what I would expect considering recent developments and player performance. Stu started every non-conference game, but now that he’s actually vastly improved, we give the job to an utterly worthless (for now) LLP. We give Ant and Shep good minutes against the best team in the country, (which seemed to keep us fresh and loose) but bolt them to their seats against Mich St. when we can’t even score 15 points in a half. I’m not saying JB isn’t doing the right things, I just can’t seem to understand them.

  • Giddings

    What do you know, Singler lands an unintentional elbow on Hansbrough (it could be argued that this was more intentional than Manny’s), the refs huddle up and give Singler a technical, which is perfectly reasonable. Based on “the rules” that Bilas loves writing about recently, this should have been a flagrant foul, but the refs recognized that ejecting Singler for this would take a lot of the wind out of this marquee matchup and would have made the refs too responsible for the outcome of a major nationally televised game.

    Jim Burr…

  • Monstermash

    I thought we played well considering our depleted lineup. We can get back on track at NW, and get minn, and purdue at home.

  • ctspartan

    Nice blog. Glad Trevor published the link.

    From a Spartan’s perspective, I think we took this game much more seriously than previously. Sure, we lost the last couple years in Crisler, but the UM team this year is far better than past years and we had to lift our game to get the win. I like CJ Lee and Stu Douglass’s game, and am puzzled at Lucas-Perry, because he looked really good in a couple games earlier in the year and brought some energy.

    Don’t be so hard on Manny and the crew – I don’t know that anyone in conference has played us tougher this year. When was the last time any Spartan could say that about UM hoops? And who other then Ty Lawson hasn’t looked bad at the hands of Walton? Manny is still one of the top 3 guards in conference. Beilein is an excellent coach who’s put you on the national map in terms of respect. This team is night and day from past years, and a big surprise to a lot of pre-season prognosticators, so you guys criticizing this team are starting to sound a bit like our own breed of Izzo-haters.

    I rooted for you guys against UConn, way to represent the conference. I still think it’s possible for you to win 3 of the next 4, get to the second or third round of the tourney, and make the Dance. Good luck, hope you make it.

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