#2 Michigan State Basketball Record Comeback: Inside the Numbers


tom izzo

The Michigan State basketball program now has a prominent placed in the annals of Rosemont Horizon/AllState Arena history. Today saw the Spartans achieve “Miracle on Mannheim Part 2” in a game that is also historical from both a B1G and national college basketball perspective. 

#2 MSU (26-3, 14-2) won at Northwestern (15-13, 6-9) today by a score of 65-60, in a game where they once trailed by 27 (43-16 with 4:18 to go in the first half. The 27 point comeback is the greatest in B1G history, and the largest biggest in the entire nation this decade. The all time record is 31-points, which was achieved all in the second-half, by Kentucky at LSU in 1994.

This game was reminiscent of the 2006 meeting between these two schools in football. In that memorable contest, Michigan State came in as visitors and rallied from a 38-3 lead, ultimately winning 41-38. The Wildcats’ 35 point blown lead is a NCAA football record. 

Northwestern shot 60% in first half and scored 49. In the second half they shot just 12% and scored only 11. At one point, they missed 17 field goal attempts in a row. NU led for 30:59 of this game, but shot only 1-10 from three in the second half.

“There can’t be a much better comeback than that one we just had. There really can’t be,” Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo told reporters after the victory.

“I told my team we’re setting some new records at Michigan State: best start, best this, best that. The other records I appreciate; this one I really don’t. I hope we don’t try to go for 28 next game.”

This game also broke the NU basketball “home” attendance record, drawing 12,114. The crowd was about three-quarters to four fifths Michigan State basketball fans. 

“Part of changing the culture of a program is on the coaches, the players, and the fans,” Izzo responded when asked about a question about the overwhelmingly pro Spartans crowd today.  

“This team deserves to have sell outs of their own, and I think that’s one of the growing points that Chris can keep working on in his program.”

The previous attendance record was set on December 1st, against Illinois, when again the crowd of 10,017 was about 75%-80% pro Illini. For most Michigan State basketball supporters, the question to ponder is this- how did they accomplish such an epic comeback? What did Izzo tell his team at halftime?

“I didn’t go off, maybe I’m getting old or something,” Izzo said with a smirk.

“I just told them how disappointed I was in their defense. How we did not guard like we need to guard. I said we’re going to try to guard better, and then we’re going to chop it down in five minute increments, at the 15 minute mark, let’s get it down to 15 or 16, at 10 minute mark I’d like to have it down around 10 or 11, and we got it down to seven or eight I think and then boom boom boom it happened quickly.”

“I’m ecstatic by the comeback.” 

In terms of Miracle on Mannheim Part 1, go to this link for a refresher on that.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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