Michigan’s season has been a slog of close losses and frustrating moments. On Saturday night, the Wolverines were rewarded for staying the course with a rivalry win.
It felt like the game was teetering on the edge of a blowout for the middle third, but Michigan managed to hold on. The Spartans couldn’t stretch their lead to double figures despite some slapstick defending during parts of the first half. Michigan always found enough of an answer and cut the deficit to a fortunate 3 points at the break.
This isn’t a vintage Michigan State team. The Spartans play slower and don’t crash the glass in the way their program is known for. Instead, Michigan flipped the rivalry script. It was the Wolverines who were the bigger and more physical team and overwhelmed the Spartans down the stretch on the offensive glass.
Juwan Howard went all-in on his two-big lineup and stole a rivalry win with the best offensive-rebounding performance of the season against the Spartans. It was Tarris Reed Jr.’s coming-of-age game, finishing with 8 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 24 minutes, as the Wolverines put together a late 12-0 run to take the win.