Michigan-Michigan St. Preview

Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan is finishing his senior season in

impressive fashion. It will be much sweeter if he can add another

Big Ten title to his college resume.

The 11th-ranked Spartans will try to secure a share of a second

straight conference championship when they host Michigan on

Sunday.

Michigan State (23-7, 13-4) was the sole Big Ten champion last

season, winning by a four-game margin, but must win its

regular-season finale Sunday to share the title with Ohio State and

Purdue.

The Spartans barely defeated woeful Penn State 67-65 on

Thursday. After leading by seven at the break, Michigan State

trailed by two with 2:32 remaining but Morgan’s two free throws

with 12 seconds left gave the Spartans a 66-62 lead.

Morgan finished with 16 points for a second straight game and

added eight rebounds, becoming the fifth player in Spartans history

with 1,500 points and 700 boards.

“It says a lot about a great college career and hopefully he’ll

get rewarded on Sunday,” coach Tom Izzo said.

Morgan is one of three seniors on the Spartans’ roster, along

with rarely used reserves Isaiah Dahlman and Jon Crandell, who will

be honored for being part of an impressive four-year stretch.

During that span, Michigan State has gone 104-35, reached the NCAA

tournament round of 16 twice and made the championship game in

2009. Morgan has started 113 games, averaging double figures in

scoring each of his four seasons.

“They have a lot of emotion involved with this,” Michigan coach

John Beilein said of Sunday’s game. “Raymar Morgan has had a great,

great career there. … I know it’s a big goal for Michigan State

to at least take a share of it, but I don’t think they need that to

get excited about this game.”

The Wolverines have been one of Morgan’s favorite Big Ten

opponents. He scored a season-high 20 points in a 57-56 win at

Michigan on Jan. 26 and has averaged 16.0 points with 6.5 rebounds

over four career games against the Wolverines.

Leading scorer Kalin Lucas was the hero in the last meeting,

making a go-ahead jumper with 3.5 seconds left, but he’s struggled

recently. The junior guard has averaged 8.7 points over the last

three games – about six below his season average – while going 10

of 30 from the field. He has not scored in double figures in any of

those three games after failing to do so once in his first 26.

The Spartans have won 10 straight at home over the Wolverines

(14-15, 7-10), including nine in a row by double digits.

“It’s been a heck of a year so far,” Izzo said. “Could be a lot

better on Sunday.”

Michigan is coming off an 83-55 victory over Minnesota on

Tuesday. The Wolverines shot a season-best 60.4 percent and were

led by DeShawn Sims, who scored 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting, and

Manny Harris, who added 22.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak during which

Michigan averaged 50.0 points and shot 31.5 percent. Sims, a senior

who averages 17.1 points, scored a total of 28 during the skid.

Harris averages 18.2 points and the Wolverines are 2-8 when he’s

held under 18. He scored 16 in the January loss to Michigan

State.