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Michigan clinches Big Ten title with Senior Night victory over Michigan State

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The Wolverines are regular-season champs for the first time since 2013-14..

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines are regular-season Big Ten Champions for the first time since the 2013-14 season following a 69-50 win over the Michigan State Spartans on Thursday night at Crisler Center.

Franz Wagner led the Wolverines with 19 points on the night, while Hunter Dickinson returned to form with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The senior trio of Eli Brooks, Mike Smith and Isaiah Livers finished the game with nine points each.

MSU’s scoring output was led by Aaron Henry, who scored 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the floor.

The pace of this game was nightmarish in the first half. Bo Boroski’s officiating crew decided it was necessary to make this a slog for both the Wolverines and Spartans, who were playing their sixth games in 14 days. Despite this, Michigan was still able to shoot 57 percent in the first half and take an 11-point lead into the locker room at 39-28.

Michigan State scored the first two baskets of the second half, but the Wolverines were able to respond with a 10-0 run to stretch the lead to 49-32. Tired legs began to take over late in this one, as a four-minute-plus scoreless for each team had things at 54-36 with just over nine minutes to play.

This was a business-like win for Michigan following the debacle against Illinois on Tuesday. The gap between them and the Spartans this year is massive, but the fatigue was palpable and even made its way to press row. (Editor’s note: I totally did not nap during this one. Nope. Not once.) As the game got closer to its inevitable conclusion, there was an energy in the idea that this team would get to celebrate when the clock hit zero.

Michigan had a banner to win itself on Tuesday and took care of its business. Sunday will come quickly, but it will be nice to at least have a few days to lay low after the breakneck pace of the last few weeks.

This was also senior night for the Wolverines, as nine players and five managers were honored after the game. Livers, Smith, Rico Ozuna-Harrison, Chaundee Brown, C.J. Baird, Luke Wilson, Jaron Faulds, Austin Davis and Brooks played their last game in Crisler Center on Thursday night. Former head coach John Beilein was in attendance to see off some of the players he brought in that are the foundation of this team.

Next up for Michigan is the regular-season finale against MSU in East Lansing at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Wolverines will then have a layoff before playing on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis at noon eastern.