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Posted on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.

Michigan basketball team upsets Michigan State in East Lansing, 61-57, for first time since 1997

By Michael Rothstein


Michigan sophomore Darius Morris celebrates with his teammates after Michigan beat Michigan State, 61-57, at the Breslin Center on Thursday night.

Melanie Maxwell |

Updated at 11 p.m.

EAST LANSING — Michigan’s players and coaches brought up a similar refrain all week, a continuous loop of a reminder. They did so in practice and in the locker room, alone and in groups.

No Michigan men's basketball team had won at the Breslin Center since Jan. 25, 1997, when Travis Conlan was the Wolverines point guard and the basketball balance in this state was much different.

So when Conlan was in a raucous Michigan locker room after the Wolverines pulled off the unthinkable Thursday night, knocking off Michigan State, 61-57, in a game it led the majority of the way, current point guard Darius Morris asked who was the last point guard to win at Michigan State.

“Now,” Conlan, currently Michigan’s director of operations said, “We’re saying Darius Morris.”


The win registered throughout Michigan’s locker room under the Breslin Center.

Junior guard Stu Douglass, who hit a 3-pointer that iced the game for Michigan with 20.2 seconds left, said he’d never really felt like this.

When the shot left his hands, it was a little high, he said. But he felt like it was going in and when it did, when freshman forward Tim Hardaway Jr. practically danced down the court, Douglass said he relaxed.

An eerie calmness fell over him as the Breslin Center — loud as ever moments before after a 13-2 run brought Michigan State (12-8, 4-4 Big Ten) within two points, 57-55 — fell silent.

Students in the Izzone, the Michigan State student section, were in disbelief. Many of them had never seen a loss to Michigan at home in football or basketball, so as Douglass’ 3-pointer fell, it was met with cries of “Oh, no!” and “Noooo!”

Meanwhile, Michigan (12-9, 2-6) didn’t know how to react.

“I don’t know if I’ve experienced a win like this before,” Douglass said. “With any team. Ever.”

Let alone the Wolverines. And he was on the Michigan team that went to the NCAA tournament two years ago, the same team that beat Duke.

This win was bigger for Michigan. It snapped a six-game losing streak, one that no Michigan player knew what to do with. It came a game after the Wolverines needed a post-game team meeting following a 69-64 loss to Minnesota.

“We finally had our come-to-Jesus moment after that game and we (were) close against the top teams in the country, down against two very good teams on the road,” junior guard Zack Novak said. “The one at home, that was just a big one, felt like it was one we had that we let slip away.

“We looked inside ourselves and took a look in the mirror, saw some things we didn’t like and saw what we needed to fix.”

They had to like what they saw Thursday. They saw a team focused and determined, one playing together on offense and defense, forcing 13 turnovers and Michigan State into poor shot selection.

They saw a sophomore point guard who was struggling, Morris, revert to non-conference form with 17 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals.

Michigan shot better from the 3-point line than it had in any Big Ten game, shooting 47.6 percent from the 3-point line and was led by Novak, who went 6-of-8 from the 3-point line and scored 19 points.

Michigan led at the half, 33-27. It led the entire second half, too, fighting off that Michigan State rally led by senior point guard Kalin Lucas, who had a game-high 27 points.

But in the end, for the first time since Jan. 2, Michigan won a basketball game. And it was a better win, more important win, than any of the current Wolverines experienced before at Michigan.

It was a win that could alter the course of a season, much like 57-56 loss to Michigan State in Crisler Arena 366 days ago sent the Wolverines into a tailspin that ended with a 15-17 record.

A year later came the uplifting victory, the one that could shift the trajectory of a season, of a program bursting for some positive momentum to change what had been a rough two years since reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2009.

“Amazing,” said freshman forward Jon Horford, who grew up 10 minutes from the Breslin Center in Grand Ledge. “Best game of my life. Best win of my life. Love it.”

This was a rival, a school that Michigan hadn’t beaten in football or men’s basketball in 1,181 days.

That didn’t come up much this week, but after, it did.

"No," said redshirt freshman forward Jordan Morgan, the only Michigan native in the Wolverines’ starting lineup. “But it’s zero now.”

Michael Rothstein covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.


Stefanie Murray

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.

Several comments incorrectly removed overnight were restored to this conversation thread.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

@Dave66 - We get it, you don't like sports. You come on and post after MSU wins to rub it in, or after UM wins to downplay the significance. Go read the cooking section or something. Leave us to enjoy a win that was a long time in the coming. And I don't attach myself to the team because of low self-esteem, I have plenty of accomplishments of my own, I just enjoy watching (win or lose) because I'm a fan. Go Blue!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

Hilarious how many comments have been removed due to violation of guidelines, name-calling, etc. No doubt a bunch of Sparty fans who can't take what they dish out. 61-57 for the MAIZE AND BLUE. That's all you need to know.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Great win by the B-Ball team. I too though they might choke it away there at the end. The ball usually doesn't seem to bounce our way when we're on the road against MSU, IU, and OSU, but the young kids held it together and got the W. Hopefully, this turns into some thing positive going forward. And on a side note, I think this story probably has the record for most deleted posts and definitely has to set some record for highest deletion %. I guess that says something about our friends from Spartyland.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

@Dave66 Ya its called a fan!! your a sparty fan obviously ,sore loser,and i hear they are serving Whine at the sparty party tonite... go join them.. Young Wolves got it right tonite,a great win at the Bres... Go Blue...


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Basking In Reflected Glory: A self-serving cognition whereby an individual associates himself with a successful "other" such that the other's success becomes their own. It's a parasitic arrangement , mainly for people with low self-esteem who have nothing of their own to be proud of. You know who you are. :)


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

This is a good win considering the young players and all coming back for better chemistry next year. If Manny Harris was here, Sparties could say that it was a lucky win and Manny is gone next year. Good signature win. Now move on and make winning a habit.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

Maybe the Izzo curse was broken when he interviewed for the job at Cleveland -- hope so

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

Keepitreal Wow, Michigan wins and you write a book about the troubles in EL. What's up with that? Not only does the men's BB team end the run vs sparty but the women's BB team SWEEPS o-state for the first time EVER! Great night! Can't wait for you to write about how 0-states womens' team had the sun in their eyes or the wind was out of the north. TiM Go Blue!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 10:38 a.m.

There is something very strange going in Spartyland. Here you have a team that went to the final four last year and this year they are struggling just to win. MSU has gotten some pretty good seeds and matched up well with the teams they played last year. Then you have Izzo get in the way, player transfer, Izzo suspended, player kicked of the team and the losses, there is something going on that well don't know about yet. When coaches let their egos get out of hand it affects the chemistry on their team. That;s one of the problems in Spartyland. Anyway it a good and much deserved win for M.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:52 a.m.

I think this is a fair question to ask at this point: Is MSU even going to make the NCAA Tournament this season??!!??!! I mean...they haven't beaten any good teams except, what, Wisconsin AT BRESLIN and shouldn't have won THAT game, close game against Northwestern, losses to Penn State and Michigan...unless MSU gets this turned around somehow, which I doubt more and more with each loss, I don't see them being able to win enough games to make the Tourney. Won't beat any good team on the road, won't beat OSU ANYWHERE, probably will lose again to us in AA (which I plan to see live).


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 9:51 a.m.

I don't think MSU took Michigan lightly. I have watched most of MSU's games this season, and I would say this is one of the better games they've played, at least recently. Someone said it wasn't that Michigan was that good but MSU was that bad...not quite. I am surprised by the shots Michigan was making. 47.6% with the 3? That's not Michigan. We got up for this game, and, again, it's surprising considering that so many guys on the team are "young" and not even from the state of Michigan. But they seemed to "get" this rivalry. The men and the women made me so proud tonight, and people...I've gotta mention it...the Michigan women have a real shot at winning the Big Ten! Please give the ladies props, too, and if you live near AA and/or can travel to games, please support the ladies...they and Borseth deserve it. I will get up to AA myself for some games once I get settled in in Chicago.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 5:39 a.m.

I am sick to my stomach and totally embarassed. Shame on MSU for taking this team lightly, you should never have lost to this doormat team !

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

But they DID. I'm sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. MICHIGAN BEATS msu at the Breslin.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 4:36 a.m.

@ halter welcome to the club " it's not that Michigan was that good it was M State being that bad" I have been saying that in football for three years Go Blue a win is a win


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 3 p.m.

I agree completely. At least as UM fans we are insightful enough to understand the truth even when it's our own team that won. Whether they're down or not, though, it was a nice win for Beilein and the team.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 5:02 a.m.

Exactly. It's not like UM beat MSU at their best, the same as MSU hasn't beaten UM at their best in football. I've tried explaining that to my Sparty friends, but they just don't get it. Maybe they will understand now.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 4:17 a.m.

Michigan has turned a corner! The veterans lead the way. A very good sign! Let us hope we will have more success the rest of the season! Go BLUE!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 3:59 a.m.

Huge win for the program. Novak,Morris,Haraway were leaders on the floor tonight!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 3:41 a.m.

I love our basketball team... Go Blue!

Buster W.

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 3:22 a.m.

UM lives and dies by the three. Tonight, the lived. About time.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 3:19 a.m.

By the way, bigtenknight...I don't think the tide is necessarily turning in b-ball, but I will take the win. It reminds me of when MSU used to beat UM in football every 5-6 years and we heard Spartan fans gloat about the tide turning...until the next game. Great game tonight, though. Go Blue!!!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 3:15 a.m.

Things have been righting themselves in the world ever since Hoke rejoined the UM family.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

Tmpa Blue, Thank you for your kind words. The good news is that I will be quite active breathing and working toward RIGHTing the Michigan ship. In the mean times put on your pirate's eye patch, grab a bottle of rum, use some Coppertone, climb up into the Crow's Nest, and keep your eyes peeled for Gators, Seminoles, and Hurricanes. Your 2 cents really was profound and cerebral!

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

Dennis, we all wish you would and hold it until we play in EL next fall.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 4:47 a.m.

Oh come on now....... Brady Hoke hasn't coached one game and you're attempting to quasi give him credit for this win. Let's stick to giving him credit when and if he wins during the football season. I'll give him all the credit in the world if he goes into East Lansing and beats the Sparty's next fall. Given his record and limited BCS experience I'm not going to hold my breath......


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

We knew, with a young team, there would be some inexplicable losses and some inexplicable wins. After the last few games, it's great to see the latter. I knew Izzo's dalliance with the Cavs would cost him and his team, but I had no idea this Michigan team would be able to beat MSU so soon. I was thinking next year would be "that game." Anyway, congrats to Michigan on a great game; the tide may be turning faster than any of us thought it would. It couldn't happen to two nicer teams.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

It wasn't that Michigan was that great -- it was that MSU was that awful.... Even if Michigan doesn't win another game this year, the in-state bragging rights are worth it...


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

nice win...but...michigan might be lucky to win 2 more games this years

1st Down

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

Hokemania! This is Michigan.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:46 a.m.

Sparty doesn't have an inside game. Michigan's been getting hammered by big, physical teams recently. Combine that with lack of desire and some hot shooting by UM and we get a road win. Izzo must be wondering what's going on. I think his guys feel after his flirtation with Cleveland, he's not as committed so why should they sell out.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

Good win for U-M and even better loss for "Asterisk Izzo". Now hold on, U-M will shoot 20% in the next two games and lose them both...but I will enjoy watching the "Asterisk" lose...LOL!!!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:46 a.m.



Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

and while that was going on, the michigan women were beating the buckeyes IN COLUMBUS. whatanight


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

I was sweating bullets there toward the end when MSU got on a run to narrow the lead to 2 and I was thinking "Oh, no, here we go again -- close but no cigar" and then MSU missed a 3-pt shot that would've put them ahead. Then Stu Douglass made that clutch three pointer with a second or two left on the 35-second clock and I was able to breath again. U-M showed a lot of character tonight for such a young team and I could tell they really wanted this one, especially Novak who was on fire from long range. Go Blue! It feels good to finally beat the Spartans.

Susie Q

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

Go Blue! This was a great win for our young team. They went into the hostile environment at Breslin and came out with a much needed W. Granted, this MSU team is in disarray with the recent losses and the year-ending suspension of Korie Lucious....but we saw Zack Novack, Darius Morris and Stu Douglass step up and get it done!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:32 a.m.

Nice game U of M. It hurts, but Novak et al did the job and the Spartans did not. Congratulations.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:31 a.m.

The 3 pointers fell and Belein ball won tonight. When the going gets tough that Novac kid gets going........ no I in team though. It was a great Michigan TEAM effort. They'll be serving whine at work tomorrow...... the Spartycusses


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:31 a.m.



Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

Next up, football.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

You gotta be kidding me. Life sucks for MSU right now, what an embarassment !


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

Go Blue!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:17 a.m.

Mike, the counter doesn't actually reset to is actually at 326 days since MSU beat UM at basketball. WHOOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

The 326 is only for basketball. I'm not counting football here since the last three years' games will probably be wiped from the records at Schembechler Hall and nobody there will acknowledge them.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

Not trying to be arrogant here. You are correct the counter is not at zero, but October 9th was not 326 days ago. Nice win.


Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:29 a.m.

Beat me to it!