Northwestern Stuns No. 7 Michigan State
Jan. 21, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -The most stunning aspect of Michigan State's loss Wednesday night was where it happened.
Kevin Coble and Northwestern pulled off a 70-63 upset of the No. 7 Spartans, snapping their 28-game home-court winning streak.
Coble scored 31 points to pace the Wildcats (10-6, 2-4 Big Ten), who have won back-to-back Big Ten games after starting conference play with four straight losses. Several of his shots came with him leaning away from or into a Michigan State defender. A few ended with the 6-foot-8 junior on his rear end.
"Those are the shots I practice," Coble said after making 10 of 16 field-goal attempts, including three of his eight 3-pointers. "People think they're bad shots. They're not. They just look different."
Coupled with Sunday's win over Minnesota, the Wildcats have defeated ranked opponents in back-to-back games for the first time.
Clutch 3-point shooting and an aggressive 1-3-1 zone carried the Wildcats past Michigan State (15-3, 5-1), which still has a one-game lead in the Big Ten.
The Spartans' home-court win streak had been tied for third in the nation and trailed only Notre Dame (45) and Kansas (35).
Michigan State had won 12 straight over Northwestern. The Spartans had won 11 straight overall this season since losing to then-No. 1 North Carolina on Dec. 3.
Michigan State committed 18 turnovers to just seven for Northwestern.
"Too many turnovers by the guards and the bigs," said Kalin Lucas, who led Michigan State with 20 points. "We've got to do a better job of being focused."
Goran Suton had 15 points and 14 rebounds for Michigan State.
The Spartans got only one point from leading scorer Raymar Morgan, who entered averaging 14.8 per game. He was bothered by flulike symptoms and played just 18 minutes, leaving smaller wing players stuck guarding Coble.
The game featured 13 lead changes. After trailing Northwestern for much of the second half, Michigan State fought back to take a 49-48 lead on a pair of free throws by Durrell Summers with 7:24 remaining.
But back-to-back 3s by Craig Moore and Michael Thompson - who finished with 20 points - gave Northwestern a 54-49 lead with 6:31 left.
The Spartans trimmed the lead to 57-55 on Lucas' 3-pointer with about 4:30 remaining, but Moore responded with a 3-pointer with 3:54 left to put the Wildcats ahead 60-55.
Coble's basket gave Northwestern a 62-55 edge with 2:14 left. The Wildcats made just enough free throws down the stretch to hold off a Michigan State comeback.
"I've never felt good leaving this town," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "Today is a really good win for our program and for our guys."
Michigan State had won 12 straight in the series and 11 in a row overall since losing to then-No. 1 North Carolina on Dec. 3.
The Spartans outrebounded Northwestern 39-23 but could not overcome the Wildcats' clutch shooting. Northwestern made 42.6 percent of its shots, while Michigan State hit 40.4 percent of its attempts.
"It was a shame," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "We couldn't do the job against a team that played very well. ... We looked like a dysfunctional team. That's what happens when you don't make shots."