Eric Welch, Staff Writer
Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson had himself a night in a win vs rival MSU. Photo//Jacob Hamilton/MLive
Coach Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartan basketball team walked into Crisler Arena Tuesday night with history on the line.
Last Saturday, Izzo tied the legendary Bob Knight of Indiana for most overall victories by a Big Ten coach with win number 662 over the Purdue Boilermakers. The Spartan coach was looking for win number 663, but his cross-state rivals, the Michigan Wolverines, had other ideas.
Led by Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson’s 33 points and 9 boards, the Wolverines ran the Spartans out of the gym by a score of 87-70. Freshman Caleb Houstan seemed to also have finally found his rhythm as his hot shooting continued, totalling 16 points in the contest.
The game started fast as both teams kept trading buckets before Houstan was fouled on a three-point shot. After he made all three of his free throws, the Wolverines went on a 14-0 run and had an 18-point lead just before halftime.
Michigan never looked back and led by double digits the rest of the game. Senior guard Eli Brooks added 8 points in his final home game versus the Spartans, and freshman guard Frankie Collins had a strong game off the bench with 4 assists. Collins was tasked to step up as starting senior guard Devante’ Jones sat on the bench with foul trouble.
Interim coach Phil Martelli told ESPN, “That was special” when asked about the victory. The Wolverines were without head coach Juwan Howard for the third game of his five-game suspension that was a result of his role in the altercation after their loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Feb. 20th.
Senior forward Gabe Brown led the way for the Spartans with 12 points, and junior guard Tyson Walker had 11 as Izzo failed to become the all-time wins leader in the Big Ten.
Michigan wraps up the regular season schedule with a home game against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday night, March 3, before traveling to Columbus to battle Ohio State in the season finale on Sunday, March 6th.
The Wolverines must continue their strong play into the Big Ten Tournament with Selection Sunday just around the corner. They are going to need to make a run, with a little bit of luck, if they want a shot at the Big Dance.