Game Notes: Michigan State at Michigan
Mr. Freeze ain’t got nothin’ on Kalin Lucas.
by Eric Woodyard
There are certain things in life that never go out of style. In Michigan, no matter how bad both teams may be, it still generates a huge buzz as well as a level of excitement when the Michigan State Spartans step onto the hardwood to challenge the Michigan Wolverines.
Although the rivalry hasn’t meant much over the past few years, the rivalry is now renewed. The pots are sweetened with Kalin Lucas and Draymond Green representing East Lansing in that Spartan green and white and Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims trying to revitalize Wolverine basketball in Ann Arbor sporting the maize and blue.
Both teams have produced some of the all-time great teams in college basketball from the Flintstones to the Fab Five. Both teams have lifted championship banners in their home gyms. Both teams are representations of the Great Lakes State.
While Michigan leads the all-time series over Michigan State, 91-72, as well as a 56-28 advantage in all the games played on their home floor in Ann Arbor, MSU has dominated as of late. The Spartans have won 16 of the last 19 games including the last 6 of 9 in the Chrisler Arena. In the last meeting on February 10, 2009, the Spartans won 54-42, so the Wolverines were looking for revenge.
In just the second sellout at the Chrisler Arena this season, the Michigan Wolverines hosted the Michigan State Spartans on ESPN on January 26, 2010…
Walking into the arena, I could barely feel my arms as I carried in a huge television camera, a bag, and a tripod. This would mark the first time that I would attend a national game from a photographer’s perspective on my own since taking my intern this semester at the WMMT 3 television station out of Kalamazoo, MI. Despite the nervousness to produce good content, I was determined to excel. When I walked into the gym and saw the sell-out crowd all in the middle of the national anthem, all of my emotions turned to excitement. It seems as though everybody had on yellow, with a touch a green in certain areas for the fans who made the drive from East Lansing. The arena seriously reminded me of a big mustard bottle.
Following the national anthem, the starters were introduced, and, ironically, Manny Harris didn’t start for the Wolverines, leaving everyone a bit confused. Whether or not it was because of his suspension from last game — which UM head coach John Beilein insisted it was not after the game — was unclear initially.
The introduction of Tom Izzo generated lots of boos while Beilien’s name rung bells. From then, the ball was tipped and the excitement of Big Ten basketball began…
When Manny Harris entered the game after missing the first 3:12 in the half, 13,751 fans went crazy. As the skinny, Detroit native kneeled in front of the scorer’s table and finally stepped onto the court, you would have thought Michael Jackson walked into the gym it got that loud.
From that point on, the game really started as both teams played their best players. For the Spartans, Raymar Morgan did damage to anyone in his path. He connected on five of six shots for 13 points and pulled down 5 boards.
Despite Morgan’s domination, the Spartans entered the locker room at halftime down 27-25 in a typical Big Ten basketball game in which both teams shot well under 45 percent from the field, with defense being the main focus.
After sitting courtside, being stuck with a huge camera in my palms, my legs began to cramp up so I entered the tunnel to get some circulation in my legs. To my surprise I ran into two Detroit Pistons (Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko) who were taking a break from their busy season to come watch the action.
On sight, Stuckey noticed me from covering some of the games and we engaged in conversation. “This is a new experience for me, my school was nowhere near this big,” Stuckey said.
I also ran into one of the most famous Wolverines of all time, Jalen Rose. Sporting a red corduroy suit, with a pair of gray, red and white Air Force 1s wrapped around his feet, I got a very quick word with him as everyone seemed to attempt to do the same.
SLAM: Has it been anything that Michigan has done to impress you in the first half so far?
Jalen Rose: They’re playing hard. We’ve got to knock down a couple of more shot because we gave up a couple of uncontested lay-ups but for the most part we’re going up against the No. 5 ranked team so we’re in good shape so far.
SLAM: So you’ve gotta be pretty proud of their effort…
JR: Oh yeah, I’m real proud of their effort. They’re playing real well, the crowd’s into the game. I don’t know how having two officials is gonna affect us in the second half because we’re going up against a physical State team but we’ll see.
SLAM: Obviously you’re from the D, are you so are you going back after the game?
JR: Yeah, yeah, I still stay between Detroit and California
As expected, the game heated up in the second half. Neither team could maintain a lead, as there were 17 lead changes in the period. The game would come down to two final possessions.
With 7.2 seconds remaining on the shot clock, Kalin Lucas stepped up to right side of the top of the key to receive a pass from teammate Durrell Summers. Without hesitation, Lucas blew by Michigan’s Zack Novac with a quick left-handed dribble into the lane and pulled up for a mid-range jumper that slapped into the net for his 12th point on the night. Leaving only 3.5 seconds remaining, MSU took the lead, 57-56.
After a foul from Draymond Green to stop the clock, only 1.5 seconds remained on the shot clock. Being pressured on the inbounds, Stu Douglass threw a picture perfect alley-oop to DeShawn Sims who couldn’t connect on the lay-up, partly because of his angle and the Spartans stampeded on the floor in victory yet again.
MSU is now 8-0 in conference play.
Wearing a black suit, white shirt, and a MSU green tie, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo took the podium for the press conference, happy that his team escaped yet another close game and proud of his point guard’s latest clutch heroics.
“In general, I thought we had big defensive stops down the stretch and that’s what you’ve gotta do to win big games and we had them and then we went to our go-to guy and if anybody ever wonders why I expect a lot out of him, it shouldnt take you long to figure out why,” Izzo said. “Because he can do it with the pass (and) he asked me to go into the middle of that zone and I just fall in love with guys that want to coach the team in a positive way and he came to me and made a couple of adjustments.”
Raymar Morgan scored a game-high 20 points, connecting on 8 of his 9 field goals. Durrell Summers also chipped in 10 points and 10 boards as well as 5 assists for just his second career double-double.
DeShawn Sims led the Wolverines with 19 points and 5 rebounds while Manny Harris chipped in 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists.
MSU’s next game will be played against Northwestern on their home court on January 30.
UM’s next game will be played once again in the Chrisler Arena, when they take on Iowa on January 30 as well.