No. 10 Michigan State Takes Down Michigan, 77-62
Jan. 27, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -Michigan State matched a school record, getting plenty of help from an experienced star and a promising player just getting started.
The Spartans (18-2, 6-1 Big Ten) equaled the 20-game mark the 2000-01 team had en route to the program's third straight trip to the Final Four and fourth Big Ten title in a row.
"It's great, but that's not our goal," Neitzel said. "We want to hang a banner and win a couple of championships."
The Wolverines (5-15, 1-7) have their worst 20-game mark since they had the same record in 1981-82.
"It's tough for all of us, there's no denying that," first-year coach John Beilein said.
Michigan didn't have a double-digit scorer until there was 5:15 left and Manny Harris made two free throws and left the game with 11 points. Anthony Wright also scored 11, making a pair of 3-pointers that gave the Wolverines the lead midway through the first half during a brief competitive stretch of the game.
Harris and DeShawn Sims entered the game averaging 30 points together, but combined to shoot just 5-of-21. Sims made only one basket and scored just six points after scoring at least 10 in the previous 14 games.
Each player was guarded closely by one and watched by four
"We wanted to give them the Michael Jordan treatment. That's what we do with great players," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "Some guys can just shoot and some can just dribble. Those guys can do both."
Beilein could've said the same about Neitzel and Lucas.
After slumping early in Big Ten play, Neitzel has averaged 17.5 points and made half of his 3-point attempts the past four games. The preseason All-American also had seven assists and a season-high seven rebounds against Michigan.
"He's one of those rare guys that's a runaway shooter and can still see the open man while he's catching the ball," Beilein said.
Lucas matched his season high, equaling his scoring total in a win last month against then-No. 4 Texas and fellow point guard D.J. Augustin.
Raymar Morgan added 13 points, helping the Spartans beat Michigan for the 15th time in 18 matchups and for the 13th time by double digits during the dominant run over the last decade.
"They can be 0-20 or 20-0 and we still want to beat them as bad as we possibly can," Neitzel said.
The Spartans opened the game with an 8-0 run and started the second half with a 10-1 burst for a 45-28 lead, allowing them to coast in their only scheduled game against Michigan.
"I've done this enough that I don't get into those types of things," Beilein said.
Michigan State improved to 12-0 at home and its lone losses were against No. 8 UCLA on a neutral court and at Iowa. The Spartans are not expected to be tested again until mid-February, when they play back-to-back games at Purdue and Indiana.
"They compare with everybody we've seen thus far," said Beilein, who faced Duke, UCLA, Georgetown and Butler before playing Indiana and Wisconsin in the conference. "And obviously, we've seen some good ones."
If the Spartans beat Illinois on Wednesday night at home, they will be 19-2 for the first time in program history.
"It does mean something because this team can hang its hat on that," Izzo said. "Every team wants to leave a legacy, and that could be part of what this team is remembered for down the road."
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