Tim Hardaway Jr.'s Breslin Center nightmare reaches 3 years in loss at Michigan State
That was last year at Breslin Center.
The Michigan wing didn't fare any better Tuesday in his return to an arena that has become his own personal house of horrors.
Hardaway missed all six first-half shots and finished 1-of-11 from the field in an embarrassing 75-52 loss to No. 8 Michigan State (21-4, 10-2) in East Lansing.
"They bullied us, pointblank," he said. "I have nothing else to say."
Hardaway had been on a tear, hitting 20-of-33 shots from beyond the arc in the past month -- an incredible 60.6-percent clip. But not even a streak that hot could end his Breslin Center nightmare.
He was 3-of-12 shooting as a freshman in this building, a career-worst 1-of-10 last year and a new career-worst 1-of-11 on Tuesday. That's 5-of-33 shooting (15.2 percent) over three years in East Lansing.
He's hit just one first-half shot in his career here.
What makes this such a tough place for Hardaway to play?
"Don't know," a tight-lipped Hardaway said.
Does it make him uncomfortable?
"I guess," he said. "This is a tough place to play. Their fans make it a tough place to play. We just weren't ready."
Of course, Michigan State's game plan might have had something to do with that.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo said his team's defensive philosophy against No. 4 Michigan (21-4, 8-4) hinged on stopping Hardaway and point guard Trey Burke. He took a different approach with defending the pair.
While Burke got his -- 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting -- Hardaway certainly did not.
"Every time (Hardaway and Burke) came off screens, we had two guys on 'em," Izzo said. "We did it a little different than how some teams have done it. We kept it up higher, because Burke is so good at turning that corner and playing with the ball.
"We had to be there on the catch with Hardaway. We can't go under any screens because we went under a couple last year (in Ann Arbor) and he nailed us. But the guy has been playing as well as any guard in the whole country. I mean, any guard. His 3-point shooting has been incredible. So we got lucky tonight and he got unlucky."
Burke is Michigan's unquestioned star, and the emergence of the freshmen is pivotal, but Hardaway remains an important cog to the team's success.
The Wolverines are 38-9 the past two years when Hardaway scores in double figures. They're just 7-5 when he doesn't.
And Michigan State has found a way to take him away, certainly a big reason why the Wolverines were blistered Tuesday and have lost two in a row at Breslin Center.
"He has been playing as good as any guard in the country," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "He had a bad night. He really had a bad night. You can credit the Michigan State defense.
"Tim had a bad night, and Tim Hardaway will bounce back like he always has."
Hardaway was accountable for his poor performance, but noted that listless play in the paint and youthful mistakes also troubled Michigan.
But he said mostly, Michigan State came out ready to play and Michigan did not. MSU landed the first blow, and Michigan didn't respond.
That included him.
"You guys saw it -- I have nothing else to say," he said. "You guys saw it out there. Everybody witnessed it. We have to do a better job of going out there and taking our opponent's best hit and responding.
"We got killed, man, and it's embarrassing that everyone was watching on national TV. We just got embarrassed."
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