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Michigan State Blows Chance in Heartbreaking Loss to Michigan

Rick Osentoski–USA Today Sports

The No. 9 Michigan State Spartans marched into Ann Arbor with one thing on their mind: take down No. 4 Michigan to stay alive in the Big Ten title race.

Michigan State had the ball with the game deadlocked at 56 with the clock ticking under 30 seconds to play. Keith Appling ran over to the sideline as if to call a timeout. The only thing the Spartans needed to do was hold the ball for the final shot and eventual win, however, things took a turn for the worst.

The only thing that they couldn’t allow to happen, happened.

Trey Burke swiped the ball from right under Appling’s chin and raced to the other end of the floor for a tie-breaking dunk. The hopes of a win dwindled in front of the eyes of Spartans everywhere, especially Appling and Tom Izzo.

The fact that the Spartans were still in the game at the end astonished everyone. Minutes earlier, Michigan State found themselves down by 10 and the chances of coming back were slim. After a few and-ones and offensive rebounds, it was a tie game.

In a game where the Spartans outrebounded the Wolverines 41-28, yet were drastically outdone in post scoring, Izzo’s team played one of their worst offensive games, if not the worst, of the entire season.

Appling had a chance to lead his team to victory, but his struggles continued and had a monumental mistake that ultimately lost the Spartans the game. Izzo’s play-calling out of timeouts was mediocre at best and contributed to the loss.

The most puzzling of all the downfalls of Michigan State on Sunday afternoon is the poor play of Branden Dawson for yet another game. Ever since the first meeting between these teams when Dawson suffered an apparent head injury, he has not been the same player.

Since that head injury, Dawson has averaged 5.5 points per game and a little more than 2.5 turnovers per game. He has not played more than 30 minutes in any of those games as well.

If the Spartans want a deep run in March, they will need Dawson to step up his game and not disappear late in games. Tough pill to swallow for the Spartans as they have now lost three straight.