It was an epic battle between the two best teams in the Big Ten with conference championship implications. The winner would take control of the Big Ten and own the state bragging right for a few weeks.
Prior to the game there was a lot of focus on the many injuries to the Michigan State frontourt. Without Adreian Payne and Brandon Dawson in the line-up it looked as if the Michigan big men would have a big day.
However Michigan did not let Spartan injuries change their style of play and they beat the Spartans like they have beaten everyone else this season, with tremendous play from the backcourt.
Derrick Walton jr. had his best game of the season by putting up 19 points. Nik Stauskas also put up 19 points but 15 of them came from three-point land as he shot 5-6 behind the arch.
Gary Harris was the hero for the Spartans putting up 27 points. Keith Appling pitched in a double-double but it wasn’t enough for the Spartans to overcome Michigan’s three-point shooting.
But all the injuries and three-point shooting aside, this game was really decided where most championship games are settled, at the free-throw line. The Wolverines out shot the Spartans 83% to 69%, completely stifling any chance of a Spartan comeback in the second half.
The 80-75 victory over the Spartans has the Michigan Wolverines sitting alone atop the Big Ten conference with a perfect 7-0 record. Michigan State drops to second with a 7-1 big ten record with a tough test on the road against Iowa coming on Tuesday.
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