Instant reaction: Three quick takeaways from Michigan State's victory over Michigan
Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News with three quick takeaways from Michigan State's 65-60 victory over Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday in Chicago.
McQuaid's final ride
When all was going wrong for Michigan State on Sunday, Matt McQuaid was there to pick up the slack. When everything was going right, McQuaid was leading the charge. The senior guard finished with a career-high 27 and was 7-for-13 from beyond the arc, with two of those 3-pointers breaking up Michigan's 20-6 run to close out the first half.
McQuaid hit four triples and converted a 3-point play while getting fouled on a layup during Michigan State's second-half comeback. McQuaid's success was tied into the playmaking vision of Cassius Winston, who found McQuaid time and time again with cross-court passes that Michigan defenders couldn't close out on.
Big Ten comeback team of the year
For the third time this year, Michigan State stormed back in the second half of a matchup with its most intense rival. The Spartans mixed in some diversity to its offense in the final 20 minutes: They got to the free-throw line 16 times, scored 18 of 42 points in the paint, and hit four 3-pointers.
On defense, Michigan State stymied the Wolverines' top scorers after halftime. Ignas Brazdeikis was 2 of 8 from the field, and Charles Matthews and Zavier Simpson each scored just two points.
More running needed
The brightest stretch of Michigan's day was its 20-6 run to end the first half. If it looked familiar, that's because it was almost identical to the Wolverines' run to close out the first half against Minnesota. After Brazdeikis' sharpshooting made up the first nine of Michigan's points, the Wolverines banged home 14 points in the paint and scored nine points off turnovers.
Michigan's offense simply wasn't as dynamic in the second half, and it cost them its third matchup against the Spartans this season.
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.