Last week, Michigan coach John Beilein preached the importance of winning four-minute segments.

Yesterday in the first half, his team dominated one of those four-minute spans by 13 points.

But No. 10 Michigan State outscored the Wolverines by 28 for the rest of the game in yesterday’s 77-62 loss at the Breslin Center.

“When we got on the court, things didn’t go our way and some people put our heads down,” freshman Manny Harris said.

For the first seven minutes of the game, the Wolverines suffered through one of their typical field-goal droughts.

Like other droughts this season, this one resulted from poor shot selection, no offensive rhythm and turnovers. Michigan missed its first seven shots – nine, including free throws.

Then, five 3-pointers in three minutes put the Wolverines ahead by five, 19-14. Over that stretch, the team hit eight of its 10 first-half field goals.

But Michigan’s first strike was its last.

The Spartans (6-1 Big Ten, 18-2 overall) held the Wolverines to just three points over the next eight minutes.

At the same time, Spartan point guard Drew Neitzel found his shot and his teammates during a 21-3 run. Senior Ron Coleman said Neitzel’s performance in that stretch made the difference in the game. Neitzel finished the game with a game-high-tying 18 points and seven assists.

“Teams make runs,” sophomore DeShawn Sims said. “And there wasn’t enough room for error, especially being away and playing a team like Michigan State.”

Coming off a morale-boosting three-point loss at No. 11 Wisconsin last Tuesday,

Michigan (1-7, 5-15) hoped to carry the momentum into East Lansing.

But Harris, the hero of last week’s game for the Wolverines, couldn’t get anything going yesterday. And the other primary source of Michigan offense, Sims, had even more trouble.

The Spartans gave the duo what Michigan State coach Tom Izzo called the “Michael Jordan treatment” on defense and held them to 5-for-21 from the field and just 17 points.

The 3-point shooting that kept the Wolverines in the game in the first half went cold in the second. A 2-for-18 performance beyond the arc kept the Spartan lead in double digits for the rest of the game.

During the game’s last media timeout, the crowd burst into a “little sister” chant, referring to Michigan football player Mike Hart’s “little brother” comments after Michigan beat the Spartans this fall.

Michigan hasn’t won in East Lansing since 1997. The 14,759 in attendance provided a raucous atmosphere for Beilein’s first experience in the intra-state rivalry.

“I don’t think there’s (a rivalry) that’s better than this,” said Beilein, who has been coaching college basketball since 1978. “We just have to improve so that we can make it a game right down to the end and sneak out of here with a win one of these years.”

After winning just four of 40 minutes yesterday, that might not happen for a while.

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