3 takeaways from Michigan State's win over Michigan: Tom Izzo makes history with 700th victory
Michigan State defeated Michigan 81-62 on Tuesday night in East Lansing.
The win was a historic one for legendary coach Tom Izzo, as he now has 700 wins in his head coaching career. He’s the first-ever Big Ten coach to reach that milestone at one program. Izzo also celebrated his 69th birthday on Tuesday.
The Spartans used a big second-half surge to defeat their in-state rival in this matchup.
Here are 3 takeaways from Michigan State’s win:
Weathering the first punch
Michigan had an incredible first half, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The Wolverines shot 61% from the floor and 51% from 3-point range before the break. The effort was led by Jaelin Llewellyn, who started in place of the suspended Dug McDaniel. Llewellyn scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting before halftime.
Michigan State was able to keep pace offensively. The Spartans shot 50% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc in the first half. Jaden Akins led the way with 11 points and made a trio of 3-pointers before halftime.
In the end, Michigan only took a 35-33 lead to the break.
Michigan State fought back — hard — in the second half.
Michigan State used a 17-4 run early in the second half to take a 52-42 lead over the Wolverines. The Spartans never looked back, as they never trailed again and led by double digits from the 11:58 mark onward.
The Spartans led by as many as 20 points after the break. They shot 60% from the floor after the break while limiting Michigan to just 6-of-24 shooting during that same period. Michigan was unable to create much of anything besides free throw attempts in the second half, and it went just 12-of-22 from the stripe. Michigan only made 3 field goals in the final 13:05 of the game.
For the full game, Akins led Michigan State with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He made a staggering 7 3-point attempts and also contributed 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. AJ Hoggard, Tyson Walker and Malik Hall also scored in double figures.
A clear path to March
With this win, Michigan State is now 13-8 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play. Despite the relatively mediocre record, the Spartans are well on their way to earning an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State is currently a top-25 team according KenPom and NET rankings. It already has a pair of Quad 1 victories and still has plenty of opportunities to add to its résumé in the coming weeks. After Michigan’s game against Maryland on Saturday, the Wolverines will close out the season with 9 straight games against Quad 1 and Quad 2 opposition.
Michigan State will host Maryland on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET as it looks to go above .500 in Big Ten play.