ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Cassius Winston had 27 points and eight assists, and 10th-ranked Michigan State moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with a 77-70 victory over No. 7 Michigan on Sunday.
Kenny Goins had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Xavier Tillman added 14 points for the Spartans, who snapped Michigan’s 22-game winning streak at Crisler Center despite being without two of their top three scorers.
Joshua Langford is out for the season, and Nick Ward is recovering from a broken hand, but Goins and Tillman produced in Ward’s absence for Michigan State.
Michigan (24-4, 13-4) led by six early in the second half, but that advantage was short lived. Down 51-45, the Spartans (23-5, 14-3) outscored Michigan 21-7 to take control. The Wolverines shot 2 for 14 from 3-point range in the second half.
Michigan had won three straight games in this series, including two last year when Zavier Simpson more than held his own against Winston in the matchup of point guards.
Winston was terrific Sunday, though, keeping his team afloat early in the second half and leading a 77-point effort against one of the best defensive teams in the country. Michigan State had only six turnovers, negating an area that figured to be a Michigan advantage.
The Spartans are now alone atop the Big Ten after entering the game in a first-place tie with Michigan and No. 15 Purdue. Michigan State hosts Michigan in a rematch March 9.
Michigan State: It was nothing less than one of Michigan State’s most impressive wins of the past few seasons. Playing short-handed in a tough environment, the Spartans looked confident on offense from the start and didn’t wilt after Michigan increased the intensity on defense. The Spartans are a terrific defensive team inside the arc, and the Wolverines couldn’t make enough shots from beyond it.
Michigan: The Wolverines now face an uphill climb to win the Big Ten. In addition to the road game against Michigan State, Michigan still has to play at Maryland as well. The way the Wolverines have played defense this season, it was a surprise that 70 points weren’t enough to win.
The Spartans will almost surely move ahead of the Wolverines in the next poll.
Michigan State: The Spartans have several days off before playing at Indiana on Saturday.
Michigan: The Wolverines play their home finale Thursday night against Nebraska.
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