First off: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Heck of a game up in East Lansing Thursday night. Most Michigan fans (myself included) went into this one kind of pessimistic, but the Wolverines came to play. Far from being just a prelude to the new season of Archer (!!!) tonight, this game had plenty of back-and-forth and the Wolverines led for most of the middle of the game and held on to pull off the upset in East Lansing.
The signature win this team has lacked came Thursday night in the incredibly tough confines of the Breslin Center. Kalin Lucas played like a man possessed, but time and time again Michigan had an answer for him. State played a solid game defensively, and Michigan looked lost at times because of it. As I said in my preview with Pete, Michigan needed to hit a lot of 3's to win this game. They did. I'm very happily eating my words, because there was no way I thought they'd do it.
Your Brewski Awards just after the jump.
The Just Shut Up Award - How many times did the ESPN announcing crew mention that it's been 1181 days since the last Michigan win over State in basketball or football. That streak is now over.
The Dagger Award - Zack Novak and Stu Douglass. 4 3's in the first half means a clutch night for the Novak, the veteran sharpshooter, including two in a row in a crucial stretch ten minutes in. AND DOUGLASS' 3 WITH 25 SECONDS LEFT DESERVES LOTS OF CAPITALS.
The John Thompson III Princeton Offense Award - After the aforementioned 3's, a gorgeous finish by Jordan Morgan on a wide-open backdoor cut to open the Wolverines' lead. Honorable mention to Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kalin Lucas 9 minutes into the second half for back-to-back plays of what I think is the prettiest play in basketball.
The Hey! That's Some Good Coaching Award - Michigan needed a tough zone D tonight and got it for much of the game, effectively morphing from the 1-3-1 to the 2-3 high, holding Michigan State to 57 points at home, 15 points under their season average. Also notable was Beilein's timeout calling at the end of the second half to help Michigan corral the 13-2 run the Spartans put on to end the game.
The Raining Fire Award - The Wolverines' offense. Sure it might be a bit too high of praise, but down 16-14 in the first half, some stifling defense and clutch shooting led them on a 13-2 run. Team offense yields lots and lots of points, guys. Stupid shooting doesn't.
The INCONCEIVABLE Award: After the first half run, Hardaway and Novak show why Michigan's got so many bad losses on the season by taking two quick ill-advised 3-pointers and missing them both badly, resulting on conversion opportunities by State to let them stay in the game.
The Taze Me, Bro Stupid Fan Award - Named after this guy, two Spartan fans decided to show up in the Izzone wearing full Teletubbies outfits and make fools of themselves on ESPN. Stay classy, guys.
The Denard Robinson Player Of The Game Award - Zack Novak. I love this kid. Kind of a Kovacs-kind of guy. The guy is just pure hustle. Darius Morris had a great game, getting his teammates involved and hitting some clutch 3's, but Novak's grit, rebounding, and great shooting were invaluable for the Wolverines. I can't argue with Morris here either though. Hell, let's give it to both of them. Perfect example: Novak guards a much bigger (gigantic-er is a better way to put it) Draymond Green and draws an offensive foul, then D-Mo dissects the MSU defense and drills an easy two in the lane. Two Denards ain't bad.
The Coal Hole Vicious IPA 6.2 Brewski of the Week - Available from the North Peak Brewing Company in Traverse City, the Vicious IPA is a fantasically balanced IPA with a citrus and earthy taste. Strong recommend to all fans of supremely drinkable beer. And a special shoutout to The Coal Hole pub in London for having this miracle of brewing wizardry on tap. Cheers.
The Fan Of The Game Award - Katy Perry, this Brew's for you. No one makes maize and blue look quite as good as you do. What's that you say? Her hair isn't Michigan blue? Look at the dress. Then at the hair. Then back at the dress. Yes it is. Katy Perry is a Michigan (wo)Man.