Spartans run Bo Ryan, Badgers out of East Lansing
Bye bye, Bo the Badger. Michigan State used eight and-one’s — converting six of them — to spank Wisconsin and send Bo Ryan out of East Lansing without a regular-season win against MSU.
The Spartans shot more than 50 percent, thanks to 15 transition points (all in the first half), while earning their first season sweep of Wisconsin since the 2000-01 season.
It was a most uncharacteristic effort from Wisconsin, and Michigan State fans loved every second of it as the Spartans played their most complete team performance of the season.
Austin Thornton came out huge early, with six points on 3-for-3 shooting. Draymond Green put distance between the teams with 20 points.
But the true gamebreaking plays came from the biggest man on the court: Derrick Nix.
With the game tied at 12-12, Nix picked up a loose ball and found Green downcourt for an and-one. Two possessions late, Nix knocked a ball out and hit Dawson on the break. Dawson made a nifty layup and drew the foul.
A few possessions later, Nix deflected a pass which Green picked up and threw to a streaking Appling for yet another fastbreak bucket.
Next possession, Nit a layup and got the foul. Three-point play, the hard way.
Spartans led 29-17.
After great defensive sequence forcing Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor to shoot an airball near the end of the shot clock, Green found Appling on the outlet for the dunk right before the half — a 31-19 halftime lead.
And through it all, the Spartans did something few teams ever manage to do against Wisconsin: They got out in transition and had a high level of offensive efficiency.
The Spartans shot 52.2 percent from the field. They had assists on 13 of 24 field goals — the most against Wisconsin this season. They had a 15-0 advantage in fastbreak points. They had a 34-18 edge in the paint.
The Spartans had an and-one on three consecutive possessions in the second half and extended the lead to 20 at about the 10-minute mark of the second half.
Green had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, likely cementing himself as the leader in the Big Ten player of the year race right now. Appling also had 20 points, while holding Wisconsin’s Taylor to 3-for-13 shooting.
Nix had 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
They did it ALL and routed the Badgers in convincing fashion, leaving little to doubt even when the Badgers made a late run, in a complete effort from a team which seems to be realizing its potential more with each passing game.
Not a bad position for a team sitting in a tie for the Big Ten lead and with a 21-5 record.
This is shaping up to be an increasingly special team and season.