February 22, 2009

MSU tears past UW with late run

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Wisconsin senior Marcus Landry hit a three-point shot with 12 and a half minutes to play that gave his team what seemed to be a comfortable 12-point lead over Michigan State. At the time, not many knew UW would only muster two more field goals for the remainder of the game.

Through its stingy defense and a relentless combination of Kalin Lucas and Goran Suton, MSU ended the game on a 32-9 run to claim a 61-50 win Sunday afternoon at the Breslin Center.

"When the dam broke," UW head coach Bo Ryan said following the loss. "Guys fed off of that."

After Lucas, who finished with a game high 17 points, connected on a mid-range jumper to give his team the lead with just over three minutes to play, the floodgates were open.

Following the jumper, Trevon Hughes coughed up the ball, one of UW's eight, second half turnovers after committing only three in the first half, that led to a Chris Allen three.

Allen's shot gave the Spartans a five-point edge with less than three minutes to play and forced Ryan to call a timeout. However, on UW's ensuing possession, Marcus Landry bricked a shot from distance that led to another MSU trifecta.

After controlling the tempo for so long, the Badgers suddenly found themselves in an eight-point hole with less than two minutes to play.

"It's simple," UW senior Joe Krabbenhoft said. "They executed, we didn't. They hit shots when they needed them. They only hit two threes, but those threes were devastating.

"Just got to give credit to them. I'm disappointed in the performance…we felt like we were in control almost the whole game and then let it slip away. Give credit to the other team."

In the first half, the Badgers forced the Spartans into committing 10 turnovers, three of which were steals by Hughes. The Badgers converted the MSU miscues into 12 points off turnovers in the frame, but were unable to sustain that defensive pressure in the second half.

"The way I look at it is in segments," MSU head coach Tom Izzo said. "I thought defensively we were very good. I thought the first half turnovers hurt us because they got three lay-ups and two threes off of our turnovers."

Considering the Badgers only hit a combined 15 field goals throughout the game, those points off turnovers become more of a testament to the defense the Spartans played than anything else.

The fast break buckets were about the only thing that came easy for the Badgers as the Spartans held them to 31.3 percent shooting from the field and without a field goal for nearly nine minutes of play during its massive run.

"I take full responsibility because I'm the point guard," Hughes, who led the Badgers with 12 points on 3-for-10 shooting, said after the loss. "I'm supposed to make sure I run the team. We had that much of a lead, we're supposed to stay in control. It slipped."

One major factor to the game deciding MSU run was its ability to attack the glass. Suton, who finished with 16 points, ripped down seven rebounds in the final 20 minutes of the game. In total, Michigan State out-rebounded the Badgers 37-25, including a 13-8 edge on the offensive glass.

"It's very frustrating," Landry said. "But, you just got to have it in you to come out with the rebound."

Over the final seven and a half minutes of the game, MSU hauled in five offensive rebounds that led to eight, second chance points. By the end, the Spartans chipped in 15 points following a rebound compared to UW's seven.

In the paint, it was even worse. Michigan State doubled the Badger production with a 32-16 edge in that category.

"They're will outlasted ours there at the end," Krabbenhoft, who failed to log a single rebound, said. "They knew they could do it if they wanted, those offensive rebounds. They just out-toughed us there at the end, that's what hurts."

The Badgers will have to wait six days before returning to action when Michigan graces the Kohl Center next Saturday.

Game notes:

-After Landry's jump-hook tied the game at 47 with less than four minutes to play, the Spartans responded with five consecutive field goals to end the game. Lucas hit three shots, including his key three-pointer that helped MSU pull away.

-The loss was UW's fourth straight at the Breslin Center.

-Suton's 17-point, 10-rebound effort was his fourth double-double of the season and 17th of his career.

-Michigan State's bench outscored UW's 29-11.

-The Spartan defense held Wisconsin to 31.8 percent shooting from the field. That number ties UW's season low that was set against Iona early in the season.

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