Despite shooting 38 percent from the floor Michigan State ground out a win Tuesday night on the road against Wisconsin, 49-47, at Kohl Center in Madison, Wisc.
Keith Appling, named a team captain this week, led the way offensively for the Spartans with 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting. He also added six rebounds.
In the first half, Michigan State fell into the trap set by Wisconsin shooters. Too relaxed on defense, the Spartans were failing to get hand in the face of three-point threats. The Badgers rarely get out in transition, but were able to in small spurts in the first half and launch from distance.
Michigan State trailed by one point at halftime, 28-27.
Even in the second half, coach Tom Izzo’s team relied heavily on its guards Appling and Branden Dawson. Interior assets Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix, who combined for 22 points in Michigan State’s win over No. 11 Ohio State this past weekend, got just seven shots between them.
This focus on the perimeter perhaps relied too heavily on jump shots and did not make use of Payne and Nix on the block. Credit goes to Wisconsin’s defense as well for denying post entry.
Michigan State has now won six in a row and will face No. 7 Indiana on Sunday.