The Spartans, winners of 15 of their last 16 games, improved to 16-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten on Wednesday with a 76-72 overtime win against Rutgers.
"We have to play tough".
Rutgers pushed MSU to a tightly contested 10-point victory in Piscataway a month ago, and Steve Pikiell's team gave the Spartans all it could handle again tonight. That was the last time these two teams matched up and Michigan State is ready to avenge that loss.
"I don't really care where they are mentally, confidence-wise", he said. The Spartans know they'll pay a hefty one if they continue to have lapses against their biggest rival.
With people questioning how the Spartans, who were flat out outplayed in Columbus, would respond to a lesser opponent in Rutgers, their first half showing didn't offer much clarity. MSU held a 10-point lead at one point in the half, but after the Scarlet Knights cut the deficit to seven, they took a 32-25 lead with them into the locker room. "They are playing well too, so we just have to bring it and if we don't, we are going to have a loss on our home court and we don't want that". He did assist on two buckets and pull down four rebounds.
But without Watson, the team's second-leading scorer and perhaps its top perimeter defender, Maryland (15-3, 4-1) looked nothing like the Big Ten's second-ranking scoring offense or third-ranked scoring defense.
"I'm gonna push Miles, and I told him that after the game", Izzo said. "I'm good at that".
On the season, MI basketball averages 76.4 points, 33.9 rebounds and 15.9 assists per game. Jackson finished the night with 16 points and five rebounds. Corrects to Winston and Langford scoring 12 points each.
Michigan basketball goes on the road to face No. 4 Michigan State on Saturday, January 13, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
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Michigan State has been sloppy of late, but I think the Scarlet Knights game was a wake-up call.
Sims had missed his second free throw and the Horned Frogs (13-3, 1-3) got the play they wanted with Fisher driving the lane for a point-blank layup that somehow bounced out.
"We need to just play our game [in order to win]" sophomore point guard Zavier Simpson said.
Maryland had more second-chance points with 13, compared to Michigan State's 12.
When shots haven't been there, Bridges has often been more than willing to pass the ball.
"We practice it every day", Simpson said.
The former standout at West Bloomfield entered the 2017 season primed for a breakout year as the Spartans were thin on experience and Jackson was coming off a spring game where he had eight catches for 168 yards.
No. 7 Duke 87, at Pittsburgh 52: Marvin Bagley III scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and the Blue Devils (14-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) had little trouble bouncing back from a loss to North Carolina State.
The game is scheduled to start at Noon ET and will be broadcast on Fox.