ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A 10-point lead had slipped away in the final minutes, and it looked as if the best point guard Trey Burke and Michigan could hope for was another chance in overtime.
Trey Burke finished with 21 points and had two steals in the final 30 seconds.
Then Burke decided to gamble, reaching in and knocking the ball away from Michigan State’s Keith Appling with the game on the line.
“I take my eyes off it for a second to see their formation, and there’s Trey going down the other end,” Wolverines Coach John Beilein said.
Burke’s steal and dunk put Michigan ahead by 2 points with 22 seconds remaining, and the fourth-ranked Wolverines held on for a pulsating 58-57 win over No. 9 Michigan State on Sunday. Burke had 21 points and 8 assists, and he had enough energy left down the stretch to help Michigan to a much-needed victory.
The Wolverines avenged a 75-52 loss at Michigan State last month — and they rebounded from Wednesday night’s stunning defeat at Penn State with an inspired performance at home.
The Spartans (22-7, 11-5 Big Ten) had the ball with the shot clock off and the score 56-56, but Burke stole the ball from Appling near midcourt and went in alone for the game’s last field goal.
“I really wasn’t pressuring him as hard as I felt like I could, the whole game,” Burke said. “I tried to turn him as many times as possible. The one time I did turn him, he kept the ball out, so I just went after it. If I was going to miss it, then I was going to be out of the play.”
Instead, he ended up with a dunk, giving Michigan (24-5, 11-5) the lead. Michigan State’s Derrick Nix was fouled with 8.8 seconds left, but he missed the first free throw. After he made the second, the Spartans fouled the freshman Mitch McGary, who missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Michigan State called a timeout with 4.9 seconds left but never got a shot off. Burke stole a pass by Gary Harris to end the game.
The Michigan State loss clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for Indiana.
It was the type of game Michigan did not seem as if it could win. The Wolverines shot 0 for 12 from 3-point range and were left to slug it out inside with the physical Spartans. Michigan State had 19 offensive rebounds, but the Spartans also turned the ball over 18 times.
“They’ve got a good team,” Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo said. “We did some real good things, but unfortunately, ‘good’ isn’t good enough in this league.”
After being beaten by Indiana and Ohio State, the Spartans have now lost three straight.
Michigan, maligned for weeks because of shaky defense, was more disruptive Sunday.
“Today it was all about grit,” Beilein said. “We just had to get a win, especially after our Wednesday night disappointment.”