College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 3, 2013
After losing at Penn State on Wednesday, the Michigan Wolverines knew they'd need a much better, more focused effort to defeat #4 Michigan State when the Spartans came calling Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor.
Trailing by three at the half, Trey Burke and his Michigan teammates surged to a ten-=point lead with just over four minutes left to play, but saw the Spartans knaw into the lead and eventually tie the game at 56-all. Michigan State had the ball with the shot clock off and a chance to win when Burke came up with the play of the game - and maybe the season - stealing the rock from Spartan point guard Keith Appling at mid-court and taking it in for a go-ahead dunk with 22 seconds left.
Derrick Nix made one of two free throws with 8.8 seconds left to make it 58-57, and, after Mitch McGary missed the front end of a one-and-one, the spartans still had life with 4.7 seconds. As the Spartans tried to get a look, Burke again stole a pass as the clock went to all zeroes, the game over, victory assured, the final: 58-57.
A leader all season long, Burke ended with a game-high 21 points, eight assists, five steals four rebounds and a blocked shot.
The result left four teams in the Big Ten - Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin (a 69-56 loser to Purdue Sunday) - tied for second place at 11-5. They are all chasing 13-3 Indiana. The Hoosiers have their final two games Tuesday and Sunday, when they meet the Buckeyes at home and head out on the road to finish up at Michigan.