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Michigan loses first Big Ten game of season in ugly 59-53 loss at MSU

After going 3-0 to start the Big Ten campaign, Saturday’s loss felt like multiple steps backward.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Michigan State Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Two steps forward, three steps back.

Coming off a pair of solid wins to push their Big Ten record to 3-0, the Michigan Wolverines entered Breslin Center on Saturday looking to break their four-year winless streak in East Lansing. Instead, the Michigan State Spartans took advantage of a sloppy day offensively to win 59-53 — handing Michigan its first loss in Big Ten play this season and leaving the Wolverines with more questions than answers once again.

Here’s the game broke down:

First half

If you were hoping for an offensive barn-burner, this probably wasn’t what you were looking for. With both the Wolverines and the Spartans sputtering for the vast majority of the half — neither team saw their field goal percentage come close to even 35% for almost all 20 minutes — it largely was a game of who could commit the least amount of mistakes. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they got in their own way more often than not.

Shooting 7-for-26 in total field goals and committing an eye-watering nine turnovers, the Wolverines went into the locker room at the half rather lucky to only be down 27-18, as the Spartans were equally dismal with eight turnovers of their own.

Statistically, Tarris Reed Jr. led the Wolverines in scoring with five — yes, five — points. Joey Baker led Michigan’s rebounding efforts with four boards in the half.

Second half

The Spartans started hot and weren’t significantly challenged to start the second half, as the Wolverines could only muster five points through the first media timeout and saw the margin creep into the double digits in Michigan State’s favor. All told, Michigan made just three of its first 11 shots in the half.

The Wolverines hung around however, and made a resurgence of their own late in the game — cutting the lead to two possessions heading into the final four minutes of play on the back of a 6-for-8 hot streak. Ultimately, it just wasn’t enough to dig out of the hole Michigan was in, as the Spartans held on long enough to eek out a six-point victory.

Statistically, Dickinson put in a solid second-half performance to finish as the team leader in points and rebounds, notching 18 points and seven boards respectively.

What’s next?

The Wolverines continue their road trip with a trek to Iowa City on Thursday, Jan. 12, where they’ll play the Iowa Hawkeyes. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., with the game broadcasted on ESPN2.