MSU Rallies From 27, Beats Northwestern

Michigan head coach John Beilein talks with Michigan freshman Austin Hatch as Hatch returns to the bench during the second half of Michigan's 72-56 victory over Coppin State University at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Monday

The Wildcats's first-half lead grew as big as 27 points and closed at 22 with Northwestern leading 49-27 at the break.

With 8:47 remaining, Michigan State erased their once thought of as an insurmountable deficit and tied game at 53-53 on the heels of a 21-0 run.

Michigan State's comeback was the largest in Big Ten history hoops and the fifth largest in college basketball history. The last two games of the regular season comes against Rutgers and IN, a couple of lower end teams IN the Big Ten.

The sophomore point guard put the team on his back to engineer the monster comeback and Izzo even said afterward he was impressed with how he was outspoken in huddles and proved his leadership vocally.

Then as they built an improbable 27-point lead, people started wondering when the last time the Wildcats had staged an upset of this magnitude.

This was a team comeback in which Michigan State (26-3, 14-2) used the sum of its parts to slowly dismantle Northwestern. This is the last game in front of their home crowd, and they'll look to have one last great performance in front of the MI faithful. "It was the Northwestern we all thought we would see this year". Big man Nick Ward grinded to 15 points and a lot of key stops on the defensive end. He finished 4-for-6 from 3-point land and scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half to go along with seven assists and nine rebounds - yes, he was a menace on the glass, in the second half especially.

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"If we're watching them and they lose and we lose it's not going to matter", Spartans forward Miles Bridges said. "To win a championship defense has to travel".

With the Spartans clinging to a two-point lead in the final minute, Bridges hit two free throws and Winston added two more to make it 63-57.

"That matchup-zone they play was very affective", Izzo said. Doing commentary for Fox, Steve Lavin said this was one of the biggest one-half swings in his 30 years of being around Division I basketball. "Their shots weren't going in the same".

While Izzo is honest about Northwestern playing below its potential this season, he also says the same thing about his team. Since the change, Northwestern has only allowed one opponent to score 72 or more points in a game and are holding its opponents to just 42 percent from the floor and 32 percent from deep.

Michigan State has played a number of closer-than-expected games on the road this season, but nonetheless improved its record away from home to 6-1 by beating the Golden Gophers.

Coming off a game in which they hit 14 3-pointers, the Spartans will get plenty of quality looks from beyond the arc. The Spartans will likely have their first team shoot-around just hours before the 2 p.m. ET tip-off due to a concert by country music group Little Big Horn, which will take place Friday night in the multi-purpose venue. The Spartans held Northwestern scoreless for over 11 minutes at one point in the second half as the Wildcats were brutal shooting the ball in the first half.

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