Quantcast 2010-2011 Michigan State Basketball: Michigan State vs Minnesota

Michigan State Basketball 2010-2011

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Michigan State Spartans vs Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball Recap

Michigan State 71, Minnesota 62

Was this the half that will finally allow the Michigan State Spartans to act like the team that was considered a preseason Final Four favorite? The jury is still out, but if one of college basketball’s most reliable programs finds itself making another deep run in this year’s NCAA Tournament, circle this game as the moment when one of the sport’s fixtures got its groove back.

The outlook was grim at halftime of this Big Ten battle at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. The homestanding Spartans – who had been torn to shreds in the nonconference portion of their season slate – needed to start their conference season with a positive result against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Yes, the Gophers – coming off a tough loss at Wisconsin on Tuesday night – were also pushing really hard for a win in this Friday matinee, but Minnesota had taken care of North Carolina and West Virginia out of conference. Coach Tubby Smith’s team had a little more meat on the resume than Sparty did; Tom Izzo, the architect of Michigan State’s golden age since he replaced Judd Heathcote in 1995, had to break through to his team sooner rather than later. Therefore, when Sparty fell behind 28-22 at the break, there was a discernible sense of unease inside MSU’s home arena.

Spartans Apparel The feeling wasn’t panicky, mind you, but it sure wasn’t comfortable, either. When a team hits only 1 of its first 14 threes the way Michigan State did, confidence isn’t going to flourish among fans or players. Izzo had to keep his boys in a positive frame of mind, but given the trajectory of his season, that wasn’t going to be an easy task.

Yet, when one realizes that Michigan State always seems to find a way to rise to the top in this sport, it shouldn’t be too shocking that Izzo’s athletes answered the call after halftime.


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In the second half, Sparty blitzed Minnesota with a 49-point onslaught. MSU hit stacks of triples, including four from guard Durrell Summers, who has keyed so many big runs in East Lansing over the past three years. It was Summers who dunked UConn to death late in the 2009 Final Four national semifinals; it was Summers who filled in for an injured Kalin Lucas and propelled Sparty past Northern Iowa in a contentious Midwest Regional Semifinal game in the 2010 NCAAs. On Friday against Tubby’s troops, it was Summers who ignited MSU’s offense and fed his teammates’ confidence. The bench scoring was roughly even in this game, but thanks to Summers’s 19 points, Sparty’s starters eclipsed Minnesota’s starters by a 54-44 count. Given that the final margin of the game was nine points, it’s more than fair to cite Summers as the X-factor who turned this tussle toward the gang in Green.

Michigan State has a long way to go to burnish its 2011 tournament credentials, but after this second-half rally, it’s suddenly a lot easier to imagine Tom Izzo cracking the whip and getting this team to make a big charge down the college basketball home stretch.


By Matt Zemek
BigTen-fans.com Correspondent



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