Michigan Basketball’s home atmosphere was as raucous as it could be on Sunday. Packed house. 1989 National Championship team in town. A hot start offensively.
Their hated rivals, the Michigan State Spartans, never flinched.
MSU (23-5, 14-3 B1G) walked out of Crisler Center with a 77-70 win over the Wolverines (24-4, 13-4 B1G) on Sunday to give them sole possession of first place in the Big Ten in the first of two matchups between these two teams.
Cassius Winston led the Spartans in scoring with 27 points, while Zavier Simpson and Ignas Brazdeikis had 17 and 16 points, respectively.
What was touted as a potential defensive battle heading into the game was anything but in the first 20 minutes of action with both team trading blows throughout the first half and providing some of the best theater we have seen in college hoops to this point in the season. The Spartans were hot from the floor and Michigan’s defense had some lapses, but kept themselves in the heavyweight bout with MSU going into the locker room with a 39-37 lead.
The second half was more of the game, though the pace did begin to slow down with the officiating getting a bit tighter and whistles coming more frequently. At one point Michigan lead by five at 51-46, but MSU stormed back to take a 56-53 lead, which they held at the 8:22 mark left in the second half. The Spartans would continue to pull away with a 66-58 lead at the 3:17 mark with the game looking as if it was starting to slip away from the Wolverines, who were victims of a 19-6 run at that point.
Michigan made it interesting late with a few threes from Jordan Poole, who otherwise had a bad game, but the Spartans would ultimately close out the victory.
These two teams will meet again in the regular season finale on March 9 at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan.
Next up for the Wolverines is the home finale on Thursday night with the Nebraska Cornhuskers coming to town. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET from Crisler Center.