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Stauskas and LeVert lead Michigan over Michigan State
Ann Arbor, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Nik Stauskas scored 25 points and Caris LeVert added 23, as 20th-ranked Michigan earned a 79-70 victory over No. 13 Michigan State in a battle between the top two teams in the Big Ten at Crisler Center.
Glenn Robinson III chipped in 15 points for the Wolverines (19-7, 11-3 Big Ten), who bounced back from last Sunday's home loss to Wisconsin and moved one-half game ahead of Michigan State for first place in the conference.
Michigan also beat its state rival on Jan. 25 and swept the season series for the second time in four years to earn a potential tiebreaker.
"It's a great win because of who we just beat. Michigan State has been such a tremendous program for so long - for decades," said Michigan coach John Beilein.
Gary Harris scored 21 points and Denzel Valentine finished with 13 for the Spartans (22-6, 11-4), who have lost two of their last three. Adriean Payne contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds in defeat.
Michigan State shot 54.2 percent and held a 31-24 edge on the boards, but the Spartans turned the ball over 13 times compared to just three giveaways for Michigan.
"This was a game we did not play with the energy we needed to play," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
A Harris three gave Michigan State a 52-51 lead with 10:26 to play, but the Spartans went scoreless on four straight possessions and the Wolverines took control with the next 13 points.
Stauskas answered immediately with a trey to put Michigan on top for good and LeVert added a pair of free throws before triples by Stauskas and LeVert made it 62-52 with just over eight minutes remaining. LeVert then capped the burst with a slam and the Spartans never recovered.
Michigan State got only as close as eight on a three by Travis Trice with just under six minutes left.
Consecutive threes by Valentine gave Michigan State a 17-8 lead seven minutes into the contest and the advantage reached 11 at 22-11 a few minutes later on a three-point play by Payne.
Michigan stormed back with the next 10 points, ignited by triples from Spike Albrecht and LeVert. After LeVert's jumper made it 22-21, the Wolverines had a chance to go in front, but Derrick Walton Jr.'s drive came up empty and the Spartans responded.
Trice and Valentine hit threes around a Jordan Morgan dunk to give Michigan State a 28-23 lead and the Spartans opened a seven-point edge before the Wolverines clawed back in the final minute to pull within 36-34 at the break.
Michigan State opened a 48-43 lead just over five minutes into the second half on a three by Harris, but Michigan didn't let the Spartans pull away. Stauskas answered with a three to start a personal 7-0 run that gave Michigan a 50-48 advantage with just under 12 minutes remaining in the contest.
Stauskas and LeVert each hit 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, as Michigan finished 8-for-19 overall from 3-point range ... Michigan State was 9-of-23 from long distance, but made only 9-of-15 free throws ... Michigan scored 11 points off Michigan State's turnovers, while the Spartans didn't record a point off a Michigan miscue ... Payne notched his 16th career double-double ... The Wolverines have won six of the last eight meetings and four straight in Ann Arbor.
02/24 01:16:57 ET
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