Michigan Wolverines hang on to beat ninth ranked Michigan State
By AP FeedFoxSports
Tom Izzo was in a foul mood after No. 20 Michigan beat his ninth-ranked Michigan State Spartans 60-59 on Tuesday night.
As angry as Izzo was with the officials and as disappointed as he was lamenting that some of his player lacked toughness, he was more upset with the man in his mirror.
''I think I had a worse night than my team did,'' Izzo said somberly at the end of his news conference.
Izzo blamed himself for not having a rotation that would have allowed Draymond Green and Keith Appling to rest more so that they could have played better late in the game.
Green scored a season-low seven points and played 37 of 40 minutes, perhaps leading to him coming up short on a shot near the free throw line that potentially could have won the game.
Appling had 10 points - his fewest in a Big Ten game this season - and almost had as many turnovers (4) as assists (5) in 31 minutes.
''Draymond and Keith had to play a lot of minutes in stretches,'' Izzo said. ''The way we play, that's not good.''
Stu Douglass made a layup with 36.5 seconds remaining, and Michigan (15-4, 5-2 Big Ten) held on through a wild final sequence to win its third straight against Michigan State (15-4, 4-2) in the first of two scheduled games this season.
Both teams were ranked when they met for the first time since 1998.
On Michigan State's last possession, Appling drove to the basket and had his shot blocked by Jordan Morgan. Brandon Wood of the Spartans came up with the ball, but didn't appear as if he wanted to shoot, leaving Green to create a shot that he missed.
''I got it up on the rim,'' Green said. ''I just couldn't get the bounce.''
After the buzzer, Izzo tracked down the officials for an animated conversation - about ''a lot of things,'' he said - that seemed to center on a turnover by the Spartans at midcourt late in the game.
''You have to have possession of the ball before you can be over and back and I don't think there was possession,'' Izzo said.
Michigan freshman Trey Burke scored 20 points and looked like best player on the court.
''I thought he played well and made some big shots,'' Izzo acknowledged.
Derrick Nix led Michigan State with 13 points, but tugged his shirt to be taken out of the game at least once and played just 24 minutes because his improved conditioning hasn't gotten to the point that he can play much longer.
Nix made a shot to put the Spartans ahead 57-53 with 4:21 left - about 8 minutes after they trailed by 11 - but then they were outscored 7-2 in the final, frantic minutes.