Scrappy Gophers Stun Spartans
Written by Sean Merriman
Minnesota played forty minutes of near perfect basketball on Saturday afternoon and was able to pull out an upset over the number eleven ranked Spartans.
Playing their fourth ranked opponent in five games, Minnesota was more than ready for the visiting Spartans of Michigan State.
Senior guard, Vincent Grier had fifteen points and eight rebounds leading the Gophers to a 69-55 victory in a cluttered big ten conference.
â€œIt looked like one team wanted it,â€ said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. â€œAs I told our team, I really do appreciate it when you get what you deserve.â€
The Gophers certainly were worthy of victory as they topped the visiting Spartans in nearly all statistical categories.
Minnesota had 17 assists and only 8 turnovers on the offensive side of the ball. This could be credited to Gopher head coach Dan Monson who stuck with his same starting five for the fourth straight game, three of which have been Minnesota victories.
On defense, the Gophers held Michigan State leading scorer, Maurice Ager, to just 6 points on 2-9 shooting. Junior guard Shannon Brown led the Spartans in scoring with 19 points and senior Paul Davis added 17 of his own. â€œWe definitely let an opportunity slip away,â€ said Ager following the game.
The Gophers led for the majority of the game but the Spartans were always within reach. Brown caught fire in the second half and gave the Spartans their first lead midway through.
The game continued to go back and fourth until senior guard, Aaron Boone hit a jump shot for the Gophers to tie the game up at 49.
After that, Minnesota went on a 20-6 run sparked by several electrifying dunks by Grier. â€œThis is a win to remember. It was a great feeling,â€ said the senior guard.
A win for the Spartans would have kept them atop the big tenâ€™s leaders and a half game out of first place. Instead, Tom Izzoâ€™s club now dropped to 6-4 in conference play and will travel to Iowa to take on the first place Hawkeyes on Wednesday night.
The Spartans will have to prove they can win on the road if they plan to get back atop the big ten standings. If we have learned anything about the big ten conference thus far, it is evident that any team can win on any given day.