In a game that was truly a tale of two halves, the No. 20 Michigan Wolverines defeated No. 13 Michigan State 79-70 Sunday afternoon, to take full control of the top spot in the Big Ten.
The Spartans started off well, never trailing in the first half after Michigan led 4-2. MSU led by five in the closing seconds of the first half when Caris LeVert hit a three as time expired, to pull the Wolverines within two at the break.
That shot seemed to spark the Michigan team and their crowd, and the second half was all maize. Nik Stauskas led the Wolverines with 25 points and five assists. LeVert was the other big contributor for Michigan as he scored 23 points.
Michigan State was unable to handle the constant switching of the Michigan defense. Michigan freely changed from a 1-3-1 zone to a man-to-man.
Gary Harris led the Spartans with 21 points despite just 7-17 shooting. Harris was 3-13 from three-point range.
Adreian Payne recorded another double-double, scoring 12 points and collecting 11 boards. The only other player in double figures for MSU was Denzel Valentine, who scored 13 and grabbed eight rebounds.
The Spartans struggled mightily with turnovers, committing 13 in the game while only turning Michigan over three times. This inability to get steals made it difficult for Michigan State to get out and run in transition. MSU had just two fast break points.
After a six day layoff, the Spartans will try to remain within reach as they return to the Breslin to take on the University of Illinois. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. EST.
Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports