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No. 19 Michigan State and No. 6 Ohio State Square Off Saturday on CBS

Jan. 8, 2010

No. 19/21 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (11-4, 2-2) vs.
No. 6/6 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (16-1, 4-0)

Date: Saturday, Jan. 9
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Arena: Breslin Center
TV: CBS (Beth Mowins - play-by-play; Deb Antonelli - analyst)
Radio: WVFN 730 AM (Rick Berkey - play-by-play; Mo Gerhardt - analyst)
Internet: Live audio and stats at
Hometown Day: Aisha Jefferson
Promotion: Show your MSUFCU credit/debit card at the ticket office on game day and receive 2 free tickets

Purchase Tickets
Listen | GameTracker
Game Notes in PDF Format

Listen to Spartan Sports Podcasts
Head Coach Suzy Merchant Monday Press Conference
Allyssa DeHaan | Brittney Thomas

Michigan State is making a push to have Saturday's game attendance be one of the best in program history. The Spartans have previously had 10 games at Breslin Center of more than 10,000 fans and look to surpass that number again this weekend. Fans are encouraged to buy tickets in advance to save $2 per single game ticket and also print at home, in order to avoid the pregame lines at the ticket office.



MSUFCU members can receive two free tickets by showing their debit of credit card at the ticket office windows before Saturday's game. Also, the 4 Seats, 4 Treats deal is in place ($20 if purchased in advance; $30 at the ticket office window), where fans can purchase a minimum of 4 general admission seats and receive 4 Melting Moments Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches.

The Buckeyes enter the weekend at 16-1 overall and are the only undefeated team in Big Ten play at 4-0. Ohio State leads the Big Ten and is among the top-10 in the nation in scoring offense (83.1), scoring margin (+23.5), field goal percentage (.486), 3-point field goal percentage (.403), assists (18.65) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.33). Two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender leads the conference in scoring (22.1) and field goal percentage (.545), and is second in rebounds (10.1). Sophomore Samantha Prahalis leads the conference and is second in the nation in assists with 8.24 and is also 10th in scoring at 14.1. Junior Brittany Johnson is also a league leader, knocking down 52.3% of her shots from behind the arc.

Ohio State leads the all-time series 45-22 and are 17-10 all-time in East Lansing. However, of late, the Spartans have won three of the last four games, including the last two in the Breslin Center. Individually, Allyssa DeHaan has had success scoring against the Buckeyes, averaging 16.3 points in four career games.

The Spartans are second in the Big Ten in RPI this season, ranking ninth according to Ohio State is first at eighth. The MSU schedule is the toughest among conference foes and ranks sixth nationally, trailing only Stanford, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Rutgers. As a conference, the Big Ten is second in RPI and first in strength of schedule.

Michigan State has been a dangerous team this season against teams ranked in the nation's top-10. Against Xavier (Dec. 9), MSU became the first school to play three top-10 teams. With the win, the Spartans improved to 2-1 in those games, with the lone loss (No. 5/6 Notre Dame) coming by one point. To this point of the season, teams that have been ranked in the top-10 have had only 12 losses, with two of them coming at the hands of MSU. Connecticut and Stanford also have two top-10 wins this season.

On Saturday, the Spartans will become the second team in the nation to play four top-10 teams, joining California. In all, only eight schools, including MSU and Cal have played three top-10 teams through games on Saturday.

It was the only the second time in program history that a Spartan team has beaten two Associated Press top-10 teams in the same regular season. The 2002-03 Spartans knocked off No. 7/6 Purdue on Jan. 6 and No. 10 Minnesota on Jan. 23.

MSU has received great production from the center position this season. The duo of seniors Allyssa DeHaan and Lauren Aitch have combined to average 20.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.6 blocks. The pair has been only on the floor together for 27:42 this season.

Juniors Kalisha Keane and Brittney Thomas have seen increased production since the beginning of Big Ten play. Keane leads the Spartans with 12.8 points through the four league games, after scoring 8.2 points in non-conference action. Her shooting percentages have also increased, hitting 52.9% from the floor and 57.1% from behind the arc in Big Ten games, versus 36.3% and 33.3%, respectively in non-conference. Meanwhile, Thomas is averaging 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals in the Big Ten, in comparison to 6.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.7 steals in the same amount of non-conference minutes per game.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan is one of only five Spartans to rank in the top-10 in both career points and rebounds. She is seventh place all-time with 1,490 points and moved into sixth place at Indiana with 829 rebounds. DeHaan is also fourth with 312 made free throws and seventh with 576 made field goals in MSU career record books.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan entered her senior season on pace to break the NCAA Division I blocked shots record. At Indiana, she moved into second all-time with 449 blocks and needs only 32 rejections to surpass the record held by Sandora Irvin of TCU (2001-05).

DeHaan became the Big Ten's all-time blocked shots leader during MSU's Big Ten Tournament game against Wisconsin on March, 6, 2009. She surpassed Ohio State's Jessica Davenport (384) for the record. In addition, in last season's win over Stony Brook (Nov. 16, 2008), she became the fastest in conference history to reach the 300-block plateau, needing only 72 games.

Michigan State is fourth in the nation in blocked shots so far this season, averaging 7.4 rejections a game. Senior Allyssa DeHaan leads the charge, ranking ninth in the nation with 3.1 per game.

The Spartans are also among the nation's top-50 in four other categories, placing 22nd in assists (16.7), 29th in rebound margin (+7.6), 33rd in field goal percentage defense (35.2%) and 44th in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.92).

Upon Allyssa DeHaan's arrival to East Lansing, the Spartans have been one of the effective teams in the country in protecting the rim. Since the beginning of the 2006-07 season, MSU is second in the nation with 720 blocks. North Carolina is first with 813, followed by MSU, Baylor (704), Duke (703) and Connecticut (684).

The Spartans had been among the NCAA leaders in blocks each of those three years, finishing the season eighth in 2008-09, 11th in 2007-08 and fourth in 2006-07.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan has played her best basketball this season against the Spartans' best competition. In MSU's games this season against teams receiving votes in the national polls, DeHaan is averaging 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in only 26.7 minutes per game, while shooting 56.5% from the field and 80.6% from the line.

On the flip side, in the remaining games, DeHaan is averaging only 9.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 21.7 minutes, while shooting 36.8% from the field.

Senior Allyssa DeHaan has had a knack for stepping up her game after the halftime break this season. DeHaan is averaging 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds after halftime, in comparison to 5.5 points and 2.5 rebound in the first half. In MSU wins, DeHaan has been more impressive after the break, averaging 8.3 points, including a pair of second half double-doubles against Xavier (12 points, 10 rebounds) and at Indiana (12, 10). She has also gotten to the line more late in games, going 31-of-37 (83.8%) after halftime, compared to 16-of-22 (72.7%) in the first half.

Redshirt senior Aisha Jefferson became the 20th Spartan to score 1,000 career points against Indiana on Dec. 6. Jefferson's milestone point came on a free throw with 7:30 on the clock in the first half. Jefferson is currently 18th all-time with 1,047 points. In addition, she is also climbing the career rebounds list, sitting in 20th-place with 579, and is tied for 14th with 419 made field goals and 20th with 200 made free throws.

Sophomore Lykendra Johnson has improved her outside shooting early in the 2009-10 season, having already matched her made 3-point field goal total from last season. This season, she is 14-of-34 (.412) from the arc, while last year she went 4-of-20 (.200) in 33 games.

Aside from her increased production from 3-point range, Johnson has also been a do-it-all for the Spartans this season. She is among the team leaders in every statistical category - points (second), rebounds (first), assists (fourth), steals (second), blocks (second), field goal percentage (first) and 3-point field goal percentage (first).

With its 53-44 win at Indiana on Sunday, Michigan State won its 87th consecutive game when holding its opponent under 50 points. MSU's last loss came on Feb. 16, 1979 (48-42 to Indiana). All-time, the Spartans are 126-3 when keeping the opposition below 50 points.

Each night, a different Spartan has stepped up as the offensive leader, as seven different players have led MSU in scoring. In addition, Michigan State is the only team in the Big Ten to have four different player score 20 or more points in a game.

In all, nine different Spartans have scored in double-figures in a game this season, including a school-record six in the win over Florida Gulf Coast. The last time a MSU team had six players in double-digits was Feb. 18, 1996 vs. Michigan.

The depth of the 2009-10 Spartans has paid dividends early in the season. The MSU bench is averaging 30.5 points, 19.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists, while playing 85.9 minutes per game, compared the opposition's 15.0 points, 14.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 60.4 minutes.

So far this season, the Spartans lead the Big Ten in blocked shots (7.40), offensive rebounds (15.80) and total rebounds (44.9). They are also second in scoring offense (72.1) and rebound margin (+7.6), and third in scoring margin (+9.3), assists (16.73) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.92).

Individually, redshirt sophomore Lykendra Johnson ranks among the conference leaders in many categories: offensive rebounds (3.5; 1st), rebounds (8.1; 3rd), blocks (9th; 1.4), field goal percentage (7th; .495) and scoring (21st; 10.2). Senior Allyssa DeHaan is second in the league in blocks with 3.1, and is also seventh in rebounds (6.9), eighth in free throw percentage (.797) and 14th in scoring (12.8).

In conference games, the Spartans lead the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.275). They are also second in scoring margin (+2.8), blocks (5.75) and offensive rebounds (17.50), and third in scoring offense (64.0) and field goal percentage defense (.358). Individually, Keane is 12th in scoring (12.8), and leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.571) and is third in field goal percentage (.529). Johnson leads in offensive rebounds with 4.5, and is also seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (.462) and ninth in rebounding (7.3). Brittney Thomas is tied for fifth in assists (4.0) and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.45).

The 2009-10 basketball season is the Spartans' 21st inside the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. MSU has an all-time record of 207-76 (.731) at Breslin and have been even more dominant of late in its cozy confines, posting a mark of 73-14 since 2003.

All-time, the Spartans are 33-28 against ranked-opponents at the Breslin Center. MSU has won six of its last seven games against ranked opponents at Breslin, including a 2-1 record this season.

In their two-plus years on the court together, the Spartans know good things will happen when seniors Aisha Jefferson and Allyssa DeHaan are both playing well. When both score in double-figures, MSU holds a 19-2 record, including the upset of No. 4 North Carolina this season.

DeHaan's scoring has shown to be a deciding factor in most Spartan games. When she reaches double-digits, Michigan State is 61-18 in her career. Also, when she leads the team in scoring, MSU is 38-6. Meanwhile, MSU is 33-14 when Jefferson tallies double-figures, including a 3-0 record this season.

Entering this season, no team ranked in the The Associated Press top-5 had played Michigan State in the Breslin Center. Now, in their first two home games of the season, two top-5 teams played the Spartans at Breslin. MSU upset No. 4 North Carolina, 72-66 on Thursday and No. 5 Notre Dame knocked off MSU, 68-67 on Nov. 19. No. 2 Georgia was the only non-conference top-5 team to play in East Lansing before the season, facing the Spartans on Dec. 17, 1988 at Jenison Field House.

The UNC win was the first home win over a top-5 non-conference opponent in MSU history. In all, the Tar Heels were be the 12th team ranked in the top-5 of the AP poll to play Michigan State in East Lansing. A matchup with No. 2 Ohio State on Feb. 20, 2005, was the last time a top-5 team played in Breslin before this season, the results a 66-64 Spartan win, MSU has won three of its last five games against top-5 teams at home, but are 2-10 all-time.

This season marks the first time in MSU history that three ranked non-conference opponents have played the Spartans in East Lansing.

For the past five seasons, Michigan State has been one of the top programs in the country in regard to fan support. In each of the last five years, the Spartans have been among the nation's top 15, averaging over 6,000 fans per game. MSU was ninth in the country in 2006-07, averaging 6,737, while they were 10th in both 2005-06, with a school-record 6,787 average, and 2007-08 (6,317). In 2008-09, the Spartans finished second in the Big Ten and 13th in the country, averaging 6,024 fans.

This season, MSU has averaged 5,064 fans through eight games, to place second in the Big Ten.

Head coach Suzy Merchant won her 250th career game against Oklahoma State on Nov. 28. In her 14th season as head coach, Merchant has compiled a career record of 257-149 between Michigan State, Eastern Michigan and Saginaw Valley State. In addition, MSU's upset over No. 4 North Carolina was her 50th win as a Spartan and her first career win over a top-5 team.

Michigan State is 5-4 all-time on January 9, including a 1-1 record against Ohio State.

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