UM rallies past Spartans, 79-70

NOAH TRISTER AP Sports Writer Published:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Nik Stauskas scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half, and No. 20 Michigan beat No. 13 Michigan State 79-70 on Sunday to take over first place in the Big Ten.

Caris LeVert added 23 points for the Wolverines (19-7, 11-3), who won both regular-season meetings against their in-state rivals. Michigan has now won six of its last eight against Michigan State.

The Spartans (22-6, 11-4) led by as many as 11 in the first half, but Michigan State was only up 36-34 at halftime. Then Stauskas and LeVert led a second-half charge. The Wolverines trailed 52-51 before going on a decisive 17-4 run that sent the Crisler Center crowd into delirium.

Gary Harris scored 21 points for Michigan State.

Michigan now has a chance to earn its second Big Ten title in three years after tying for the championship in 2012. The Wolverines have home games against Minnesota and Indiana still to come, along with trips to Purdue and Illinois. Michigan State has home games against Illinois and Iowa followed by a trip to Ohio State.

Stauskas was terrific in Michigan's 80-75 win at Michigan State last month, but opposing defenses have geared up to stop him lately, and the 6-foot-6 guard has been reluctant to force things. That all changed in a big way in the second half Sunday.

With the Wolverines down 48-43, Stauskas scored seven straight points to give Michigan the lead. When the Spartans edged back ahead by one, Stauskas answered with a 3-pointer, and it soon become clear that there wasn't much Michigan State could do to keep him from simply shooting over defenders on the perimeter.

A 3-pointer by Stauskas from the right wing put Michigan ahead 59-52, then LeVert added a 3-pointer and a dunk.

With the Spartans wearing down, Jon Horford dunked for Michigan to make it 68-56 -- and that ended a stretch of 23 straight Michigan points by Stauskas or LeVert.

Michigan fans serenaded the Spartans with a chant of "little brother" toward the end. The Spartans have battled injuries throughout this season -- Adreian Payne and Brandon Dawson missed the first meeting with Michigan. Dawson was still out Sunday with his broken hand, but Payne is back, and he had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Keith Appling, who has been dealing with a wrist problem, scored only six points for Michigan State.

Michigan, of course, has been playing without big man Mitch McGary for over two months, but the Wolverines have overcome his back-related absence thus far. Glenn Robinson III scored 15 points Sunday, including an alley-oop dunk from a driving Stauskas that made it 72-61.

Michigan State made 17 shots from 3-point range in its previous game against Purdue, and the Spartans were locked in early in this one. Payne dunked on freshman Zak Irvin while drawing a foul, and the three-point play gave Michigan State a 22-11 lead.

The Wolverines responded with an immediate 8-0 run -- 3-pointers by Spike Albrecht and LeVert, followed by a breakaway dunk by Irvin.

LeVert scored 14 points in the first half, and his 3-pointer in the final seconds cut Michigan State's lead to two.

TOP 25

No. 11 CREIGHTON 72,

SETON HALL 71

OMAHA, Neb. -- Doug McDermott had 29 points to become one of the top-10 scorers in college basketball history, and No. 11 Creighton survived shaky free throw shooting at the end to post a hard-earned 72-71 victory over Seton Hall on Sunday.

Grant Gibbs added a season-high 16 points, and the Bluejays (23-4, 13-2) took a half-game lead over Villanova in the Big East standings.

Fuquan Edwin had 21 points to lead the Pirates (14-13, 5-9), who have lost four of five.

SMU 64, No. 21 CONNECTICUT 55

STORRS, Conn. -- Nick Russell and Nic Moore each scored 15 points to lead SMU to a win over UConn and a sweep of their season series with the Huskies.

Markus Kennedy added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Mustangs (22-6, 11-4 American), who have won 11 of their last 13 games.

Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier combined to shoot 8 for 28 for Connecticut (21-6, 9-5), but each had 15 points. The Huskies had won four in a row and 10 of 12.

BIG TEN

NEBRASKA 76, PURDUE 57

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Terran Petteway scored 29 points to lead surging Nebraska, which won its fifth straight game, over Purdue 76-57 Sunday.

Nebraska (16-10, 8-6 Big Ten) used a 26-8 second half run to take down the Boilermakers (15-12, 5-9).

The Huskers have won five straight conference games for the first times since 1998-99 and have won eight conference games for the first time since 2008-09 when it was a member of the Big 12.

Terone Johnson led Purdue with nine points.

MAC

TOLEDO 85, BALL STATE 74

TOLEDO -- Julius Brown scored 20 points as Toledo stayed undefeated at home this season and beat short-handed Ball State 85-74 on Sunday.

Justin Drummond and Nathan Boothe added 17 apiece for Toledo (23-4, 11-3 Mid-American Conference).

The Rockets are now just one win away from trying the school record for most wins in a season.

Chris Bond scored 22 points for the Cardinals (4-21, 1-13).

MIAMI (Ohio) 55,

BOWLING GREEN 52

OXFORD -- Willie Moore and Will Felder scored 11 points apiece as Miami (Ohio) built a big lead and held on at the end to drop Bowling Green 55-52 on Sunday.

Miami (10-15, 6-8 Mid-American Conference) scored 15 straight early in the game, including seven from Moore, and led 35-25 at the break.

Bowling Green (11-16, 5-9) chipped away the entire second half, cutting its deficit to one at 53-52 on Richaun Holmes' jumper with 1:47 left. But Geovonie McKnight and Moore both made 1 of 2 free throws inside 29 seconds and Bowling Green missed its last two shots to fall short at the end.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 70,

NORTHERN ILLINOIS 67

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Braylon Rayson scored 19 points and Austin Stewart added 16 to lead Central Michigan past Northern Illinois 70-67 on Sunday.

Rayson was 7 of 14 from the field, including three treys. Stewart finished on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbed six boards. Chris Fowler scored 15 points and dished out eight assists for Central Michigan (10-16, 3-11 Mid-American).

Armstead finished with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Darrell Bowie scored 14 points and Daveon Balls added 10 for Northern Illinois (12-14, 6-8). Jordan Threloff chipped in eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Huskies.

WESTERN MICHIGAN 75,

EASTERN MICHIGAN 67

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Shayne Whittington scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, his 10th double-double of the season, as Western Michigan beat Eastern Michigan 75-67 on Sunday.

David Brown added 20 points, 11 from the free throw line, and had seven rebounds for Western Michigan (18-8, 11-3 Mid-American Conference).

Darell Combs had 21 for Eastern Michigan (15-12, 7-7), on 8-of-16 shooting.

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