Michigan State coach Tom Izzo ran the gamut of facial expressions Tuesday night, and none of them expressed satisfaction as his were hammered on the road against rival Michigan, 86-57.
The Spartans (14-10, 6-5 Big Ten) saw their two-game winning streak squashed as the Wolverines (15-9, 5-6) built a 30-point lead that they would never come close to relinquishing.
Michigan State had three players in double figures in Miles Bridges (15 points), Nick Ward (13) and Eron Harris (10). Derrick Walton Jr. led Michigan with 20 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds.
Why it happened
Defense. Michigan State played horrendous defense, getting decimated by the pick-and-roll and allowing drivers to get into the lane at will. Michigan shot 60.4 percent from the field, all the while playing stingy perimeter defense. They allowed Michigan State to shoot 47.9 percent but forced 12 turnovers in the first half while building an insurmountable 55-29 lead at the break.
What it means
Michigan State has not overcome its inconsistency issues, despite what two straight wins might have indicated. A road loss would have been possible to swallow — but to lose in the fashion that the Spartans did means their problems remain as glaring as ever.
Bridges. Saying he starred would be a stretch, but he looked the most consistently impressive for Michigan State. He made several ridiculous plays, from finishing a layup while most of his body was behind the basket to reeling in a poor pass for a tough lob finish.
Cassius Winston. The freshman point guard looked like a freshman in many ways. He finished with 3 points, 4 assists and 6 turnovers, several of which came because of his failure to recognize the shot clock.
Who is next
Michigan State returns home Saturday to take on Iowa, which has won three straight games and will look to make it four against reeling Minnesota on Wednesday. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network.
Domination by Michigan. Adds to 30-point win vs. Indiana. pic.twitter.com/cwtixZbmuN
— Kevin Goheen (@CincyGoGo) February 8, 2017