EAST LANSING — Could there have been a better day to be Tom Izzo?
The Hall of Fame coach celebrated his 69th birthday in style Tuesday night, surrounded by a raucous sellout crowd at Breslin Center, urging Michigan State basketball to ensure Izzo a cherished gift.
His 700th career victory. Coming against his fiercest rival, Michigan.
Jaden Akins scored 23 points with seven 3-pointers, both career highs, as the Spartans overcame a shaky start to pull away to an 81-62 victory over the Wolverines at Breslin Center.
Izzo became the 38th coach in Division I history to win 700 career games, all with the Spartans. Gonzaga coach Mark Few won his 700th on Jan. 18.
Akins finished 7-for-10 from deep and 8 of 13 overall while adding three rebounds and three assists for MSU (13-8, 5-5 Big Ten), which hosts Maryland at 5:40 p.m. Saturday.