EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan converted its first 20 free throws en route to rallying past Michigan State 82-72 in an intrastate college basketball showdown at the Breslin Center on Saturday afternoon.
No. 4-rated Michigan State entered the contest as a 9.5-point favorite.
However, Michigan came in with a 91-81 all-time lead in the series.
The game was shown live on FOX 17.
On Saturday, the two rivals began by trading baskets, setting the stage for a back-and-forth battle from the outset. The visitors from Ann Arbor took a lead of 9-4 before the Spartans rattled off six straight points to assume command. That exchange exemplified the remainder of what turned out to be a seesaw first half.
After a lob pass to Gavin Schilling that resulted in his spectacular alley-oop dunk, Michigan State was up 37-34 at intermission.
Charles Matthews came out of the locker room and converted two free throws to propel Michigan, which was soon in control 40-39 at the 17:00 juncture of the second stanza. While the second half turned out to be more of the same as its predecessor, as the two schools traded buckets, the Wolverines held slim advantages much of the way.
Michigan was ahead 54-49 at the midway point of the finale. But even that eventually turned into a 55-54 edge for Coach Tom Izzo’s Michigan Staters.
The Wolverines soon assumed their biggest advantage at 65-57 on two Moe Wagner charity tosses before the Spartans once again came roaring back. Control rocked back and forth down the stretch as Wagner, Matthews and MSU’s Miles Bridges continually traded points.
Michigan was in command 75-67 with 1:00 showing on the clock and eventually increased the bulge to 9 points. The Wolverines took their first double-digit lead at 79-69 with time winding down.
Wagner eventually fouled out with 27 points.
Michigan State is now 16-3 entering another homecourt encounter, this time vs. Indiana next Friday evening.
Coach John Beilein and his Michigan charges now stand 15-4 going into a home date against Maryland at the Crisler Center on Monday night.