Michigan State, in the last two games, has seen itself win in overtime. First to Wisconsin, when they came back to tie it just as the buzzer sound and then ran it up on Wisconsin in overtime. Today, they forced overtime against Northwestern and then went on a run to win it.
For Michigan State, freshman Keith Appling had 19 points to help the Spartans overcome the Wildcats. Kalin Lucas wasn't far behind with 18 points. Draymond Green added 16 points.
For Northwestern, John Shurna continues to struggle, he only had six points. Drew Crawford and Michael Thompson stepped up and filled his void, Crawford with 16 points and Thompson with 15.
This game looked like it would be low scoring until both teams stepped up their game in the second half. The halftime score was 23-18 with Michigan State trailing. After that, MSU scored 42 points in the second half and 11 points in overtime.
This win keeps Michigan State on pace with the top of the conference, while the loss puts Northwestern at 2-4, three games behind the top of the conference and four games behind leader Ohio State, at this point.
More after the jumpOverall, I think Michigan State has yet to prove themselves as a true Big Ten title contender. Teams like Illinois and Purdue handled Northwestern easily at home. To me, there is still something that just isn't there for Michigan State. I don't see Michigan State being a Big Ten title contender down the stretch, I think they will have a hard time winning at places like Ohio State, Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. I think road games will be Michigan State's downfall this year.
Then again, we have seen Michigan State teams under Tom Izzo, completely change the course of their season, win the Big Ten and go to a Final Four. So, you never know what Michigan State could be capable of.
Northwestern is basically out of title contention at this point. They couldn't capitalize on a big opportunity they had to knock off a ranked team on the road. If they would have gotten this win, it could have put them back on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. Now, they probably won't get into the NCAA Tournament, unless they run the table, which just won't happen.
Michigan State faces a tough, tough week next week. They travel to Illinois on the 18th and then go to Purdue on the 22nd for the ESPN College Gameday Game. For Northwestern, they play Michigan and then go out of conference to play SIUE next week.