Moritz Wagner poured in a career-high 27 points, and Michigan upset error-prone No. 4 Michigan State on the road 82-72 on Saturday afternoon at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
The junior forward made 8 of 13 field-goal attempts and all eight of his free throws to surpass his previous best of 26 points, set in last season’s NCAA tournament against Louisville. Zavier Simpson contributed 16 points and five assists and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 14 points for Michigan (15-4 overall, 4-2 Big Ten).
Freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. tied his career high with 19 points and blocked six shots for Michigan State (16-3, 4-2), which has lost two of its last three games. Miles Bridges posted 19 points, six rebounds and five assists but also committed four of Michigan State’s 18 turnovers. The Wolverines turned the giveaways into 26 points, while only committing seven turnovers leading to seven Michigan State points.
Whistles were frequent during the rivalry game. There were 51 fouls called and 68 free throw attempts. Michigan outscored Michigan State 28-27 at the foul line.
Defense fueled an 8-0 Wolverines run early in the second half that put them on top 42-39. They forced four turnovers during that span, capped by a Simpson steal and Isaiah Livers dunk.
A three-point play by Abdur-Rahkman nudged Michigan’s lead to 54-49 with 9:49 left. The Spartans scored the next six points before Wagner drained a 3-pointer. The Wolverines soon used a 6-0 spurt to make it 65-57.
Wagner scored on back-to-back possessions for a 69-61 advantage with 3:08 remaining. The Spartans, who shot 36.4 percent during the second half, couldn’t muster a comeback.
Michigan State emerged from a seesaw first half that featured eight lead changes and eight ties with a 37-34 advantage. Neither side led by more than five points even though the Spartans shot 56.5 percent compared to the Wolverines’ 36.4 percent shooting in the half.
Turnovers allowed the Wolverines to stick close, as they converted eight early Spartans giveaways into 17 points.
—Field Level Media