Wagner scores 27, Michigan beats No. 4 Michigan State 82-72
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Moritz Wagner scored a career-high 27 points, lifting Michigan to an 82-72 victory over No. 4 Michigan State on Saturday.
The Wolverines (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) have won eight of nine games this season and two straight against their rivals.
The Spartans (16-3, 4-2) are struggling, losing two of three games with an overtime win over Rutgers in between the setbacks.
Zavier Simpson made a go-ahead layup with 14:28 left, the 13th lead change in an intense game with 11 ties. He helped the Wolverines pull away in the final minutes with enough free throws to keep a cushion. Simpson finished with 16 points, taking advantage of a game plan that called for him and his teammates to drive toward the basket against a shot-blocking team.
Michigan's Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 13 points and Charles Matthews added 10.
Michigan State's Miles Bridges had 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Bridges gave up the ball four times as one of many turnover-prone Spartans. Michigan scored 26 points off Michigan State's 18 turnovers.
Jaren Jackson had 19 points and six blocks, limited by foul trouble for the Spartans.
Michigan: The Wolverines proved they can compete with, and beat, the Big Ten's best teams this week. They lost by only one point at home Tuesday against No. 5 Purdue. Instead of shooting a lot of 3-pointers, they are taking the ball to the basket to set up long shots and force teams to defend them all over the court.
Michigan State: The Spartans will get a five-day break before playing again and they need time to figure out what has gone relatively wrong. They had won 14 straight, ending with a 30-point win over Maryland, before a lopsided loss at Ohio State, an overtime win against Rutgers and a closely contested game against Michigan in which they often looked confused on offense and porous on defense.
Michigan will take on the Maryland Terrapins at 6:30 p.m. Monday, while the Indiana Hoosiers visit Michigan State at 7 p.m. Friday.
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