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Well, that lived up to the hype.
No. 7 Michigan basketball and No. 10 Michigan State basketball went back and forth all throughout the first half. And then traded blows into the second.
But in the end, the Spartans simply had more: more offense, and more defense. And a dominant second-half performance led MSU to a 77-70 win over U-M.
After opening up a six-point lead at the 15:32 mark, the Wolverines scored just seven points over the next 12-plus minutes. MSU, meanwhile, ripped off a 21-7 run to take control.
U-M (24-4, 13-4 Big Ten) was led by Zavier Simpson’s 19 points, while Ignas Brazdeikis and Jordan Poole chipped in 16 and 15, respectively.
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Cassius Winston scored 27 points and had eight assists for the Spartans (23-5, 14-3).
The loss snapped U-M’s three-game winning streak in this rivalry. And it gave the Spartans control in the race for a Big Ten title, taking a one-game lead over U-M and the rematch set to take place at the Breslin Center on March 9.
Michigan’s offense went cold at the worst time.
And that allowed MSU to take advantage.
The Spartans slowly chipped away at a six-point deficit with 15 minutes left. And then they took the lead for good with a dominant second half.
U-M couldn’t finish at the rim, and it struggled to find good looks. The Wolverines scored just 25 in the second half, shooting 37.7 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from 3.
That proved to be the difference.
Despite missing two injured starters, the Spartans avoided mistakes and played with an impressive amount of poise on the road.
U-M hadn’t lost at home since Jan. 9, 2018.
The first half played out surprisingly as U-M’s offense played one of its best halves of the season and the defense played one of its worst.
The Wolverines got a solid performance from Jon Teske, who scored eight points, grabbed three offensive rebounds and drew several fouls down low.
MSU chose to leave open Simpson, who entered the game shooting 29.6 percent from the 3-point line; he made 2 of 5 in the first half and scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
Poole was quiet, while Charles Matthews was limited by an early foul and an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, U-M was a mess on the other end.
The Wolverines gave up more open 3s and layups in the first half than they have against any other team.
Winston made the right reads in the ball-screen game and racked up five first-half assists.
His supporting cast played well, too: Kenny Goins had 13 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting, Matt McQuaid drilled two 3s and Xavier Tillman scored eigh.
Michigan had a chance to break the game open early in the second half.
The Wolverines ripped off a 12-4 run over a 3:13 stretch, taking a six-point lead — their largest of the game to that point — and forcing a Michigan State timeout with 15:32 left.
But then the offense went cold, and MSU took control.