There was no kiss. This time, it was a knock-out punch. Michigan's Nik Stauskas piled up 25 points on Sunday afternoon to lead the 20th-ranked Wolverines to a 79-70 come-from-behind win over rival Michigan State. As it tends to when it comes to Stauskas against Michigan State, the performance came in style. One month after the 6-foot-6 sophomore guard bid adieu to East Lansing with a big kiss into the Breslin Center air after an 80-75 U-M win, Stauskas poured in 21 second-half points to emphatically lead the Wolverines past the Spartans. The right cross came with 8 minutes, 43 seconds remaining. Having already single-handily erased a 48-43 Michigan State lead in the second half, Stauskas rolled off a screen and buried a step-back 3-pointer that put the Spartans on their backs. With Michigan State coach Tom Izzo calling for a timeout and Crisler Center stirring, Stauskas jogged back down the floor and threw a hay-maker in the air. The dagger gave No. 20 Michigan (19-7, 11-3 Big Ten) a 59-52 lead and came amidst a rollicking 21-4 run. Once the Wolverines' raid ended, a 64-52 lead with 7:21 remaining in the game was showing on the scoreboard. Stauskas scored 14 of the 21 points in the Wolverine run. Caris LeVert, who co-starred with Stauskas in a 23-point performance, added the other seven. No. 13 Michigan State (22-6, 11-4 Big Ten) would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way. The win was more than just Michigan’s 19th of the season. This was far more. This was a third straight win over the Spartans. It was coach John Beilein’s sixth win in his last eight meetings with Izzo. It was a heart-thumping, hard-charging win complete with pompom-totting fans packing every inch of Crisler. More than any of that, though, it was a win Michigan needed. The Wolverines now stand alone atop the Big Ten standings with Michigan State left giving chase. The Wolverines' NCAA tournament position has been strengthened. Their resume includes five top-25 wins. Making nine of their first 13 shots, the Spartans jumped to 22-11 lead as Crisler turned nervous early. The Wolverines could muster only four made field goals in the first 11 minutes. LeVert changed all that. The sophomore followed a Spike Albrecht 3-pointer with 8:41 remaining with one of his own and set off an 10-0 run that LeVert would cap with another long jumper. Adding another 3-pointer and earning free throws with drives to the basket, LeVert would close the half by scoring 14 of U-M's final 20 points. The Spartans -- led by their own surprise, Denzel Valentine -- kept coming at Michigan. Sparked by 11 points on three made 3-pointers by Valentine and 12 points from Harris, the Spartans took a 36-34 lead into the halftime locker room. Harris led Michigan State with 21 points on 7-for-17 shooting, including 4-of-13 3-point shooting. Glenn Robinson III added 15 points for Michigan on 6-for-12 shooting.
Michigan knocks out Michigan State, 79-70, as LeVert, Stauskas fuel comeback win
Michigan Live | Feb 24