The Michigan Wolverines have a second-half shooting problem.
After leading at halftime against the Michigan State Spartans, the Wolverines couldn’t get it together in the second half once again and fell, 81-62.
Leading by two at halftime just a game ago against Iowa, it appeared the exact same meltdown took place against Michigan State. After shooting just 17 percent in the second half against the Hawkeyes, Michigan came out firing against Sparty, shooting over 60 percent throughout the entire first half.
With four minutes down, the Wolverines went on a 7-0 run led by Jaelin Llewelyn, to take a seven-point lead. Meanwhile, the Spartans committed four turnovers in five minutes and went scoreless.
After the stoppage, Michigan added to its total. Tarris Reed Jr. made a three-pointer and Tray Jackson scored four tough points to increase the Wolverines’ shooting percentage to 75 percent from the field and maintain a nine-point lead.
Michigan State continued to battle back, however, led by Jaden Akins (11 points) and Tyson Walker (five points), bringing the deficit within four points for the final six minutes. But Olivier Nkamhoua and Llewelyn kept Michigan’s lead going into halftime, 35-33.
The Wolverines shot 60.9 percent from the field in the half and 55.6 percent from three. The Spartans made just one less shot but converted 50 percent from the field in the half. Nonetheless, it was a high-octane opening half in East Lansing.
Out of halftime, the Spartans took the game into their hands. Nimari Burnett made a three-pointer to extend Michigan’s lead for 30 seconds, but Michigan State proceeded to go on an 11-1 run in two minutes and 11 seconds (5-for-5) to take a 44-39 lead into the first media timeout of the second half. Meanwhile, the Wolverines went scoreless for three minutes and lowered their shooting percentage to 50.1 percent.
Following the timeout, Malik Hall made a hook shot, Akins made another three-pointer (5-for-6 from three) and Carson Cooper made an and-one to extend the Michigan State run to 15-3.
Terrance Williams II tried to single-handedly get Michigan back in the game by scoring six straight points, but Tyson Walker made another layup to maintain a 10-point lead for Sparty into the under-12 media timeout.
The Spartans went on another 7-0 run. Jackson finally made two free throws to stop the run, but that didn’t solve the Michigan shooting debacle, as it went without a field goal for six minutes. Llewelyn finally made a three-point field goal at the 6:50 mark, but Akins matched him on the ensuing possession and added to his career night, making six threes up to that point. The Wolverines found themselves down 15 points at the under-eight-timeout.
The deficit only grew during the next four minutes as Michigan State shot 5-for-7 and Michigan converted just 2-for-10. In addition, the Wolverines had no answer for Akins, who was up to 23 points (7-for-10 from three), leading to a 75-57 lead for the Spartans at the final media stoppage. All Michigan could do was run out the clock and get home.
As the final buzzer sounded, Michigan State coach, Tom Izzo, picked up his 700th win and the Wolverines hung their heads walking out of Breslin Center.
Aside from Akins’ career-high night, A.J. Hoggard also had a monumental night, scoring 15 and surpassing 1,000 career points. Llewelyn had 18 and Williams finished with 14 for Michigan. Most shockingly, the Spartans shot 60 percent in the second half compared to the Wolverines’ 25 percent.
Michigan will take on Rutgers at home on Saturday and attempt to stop the abysmal skid.