Josh Smith had 16 points and Andre Drummond added 13 points with 16 rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost four straight. They had two three-game losing streaks earlier in the season.
After struggling inside in a six-point win at Navy and a 10-point loss to Duke in the Champions Classic, Michigan State was determined to get the ball to its big men early and often.
With the Pistons down 85-83 and 40 seconds left, Brandon Jennings missed a jumper, but Jonas Jerebko grabbed the rebound and fed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the go-ahead 3-pointer.
Zak Irvin scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half, and No. 24 Michigan rolled to a 77-53 victory over Bucknell on Monday night.
Detroit struggled from the floor in the first half, shooting only 42.5 percent, and weren’t able to get the ball inside with any regularity.
The 24th-ranked Wolverines raised their 2014 Big Ten championship banner before the game, celebrating another season of accomplishment before beating Division II Hillsdale.
Detroit’s starting backcourt struggled, as Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were a combined 7 of 27, with Caldwell-Pope missing 10 of his 11 shots.
Jennings made a tiebreaking 3-pointer to give Detroit an 87-84 lead with 2:32 left in overtime. He added another 3 while falling to the ground, increasing the Pistons’ advantage to 92-84.
Detroit, which lost for the third straight time and fell to 2-6, took a 13-point first quarter lead, thanks to Brandon Jennings, who scored 16 of his game-high 32 points in the quarter.
Jennings had begun to develop sort of a signature move now in the NBA — the fake behind-the-back pass, as he has made more than one defender look silly on that play.