Michigan State Is 8-0 in the Big Ten for the First Time
Michigan State is off to its best Big Ten start in school history at 8-0. Barely. The Spartans escaped another upset bid tonight this time at the hands of their bitter rivals, the Michigan Wolverines.
Kalin Lucas hit another clutch jump shot with 3.5 seconds left to carry MSU to the 57-56 victory. On Saturday, Lucas hit the go-ahead three-pointer against Minnesota with just 1:30 left. Tonight's game was very close throughout, with neither team holding a lead greater than seven points.
Lucas had struggled for most of the game missing eight of his first ten shots, and had only five points to his credit with 5:52 remaining. Then, Lucas turned it on, scoring seven of the Spartans' final 11 points. He went 3-4 during that stretch, and has now scored in double figures in 31 straight games.
The Wolverines had all the momentum with a minute left, holding a three point lead and possession of the ball. However, the Spartans tightened up the defense, got the stops when they needed them, and scored on their next two trips to retake the lead for good.
It really is remarkable that MSU was able to pull this one off, as they turned the ball over 18 times to Michigan's four and were only 2-12 (17 percent) from three point range. A lot of credit has to go to Raymar Morgan, who scored 20 points on 8-9 shooting. Morgan has really turned it on in the last four games, averaging 17 points and seven rebounds.
Michigan got their usual production from DeShawn Sims (19 points) and Manny Harris (16 points), but not much else. It was thought of that someone else besides those two would have to step up for an upset to happen, but even though nobody did, the Wolverines almost pulled it off.
With this win, the Spartans also proved that they can get a tough win without production from a couple key players. Chris Allen, who averages 10 points per game, was held scoreless. Korie Lucious, who plays 21 minutes per game, was also scoreless and only had one assist versus four turnovers. Their balance is certainly one reason that makes them so tough to beat.
The Spartans are 4-0 on the road in conference play this season, and have won 12 of their last 13 on the road which is a school record. With that record and the way MSU plays at home, they are now the clear-cut favorite to win their second straight Big Ten title.
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