ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A 10-point lead had slipped away in the final minutes, and it looked like the best Trey Burke and Michigan could hope for was another chance in overtime.
Then the star point guard 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 two 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 eight 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-all, 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 Michigan freshman Mitch McGary, who missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
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 exactly the type of game it didn’t seem like Michigan could win. The Wolverines shot 0-for-12 from three-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.
Maligned for weeks because of shaky defense, Michigan 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.
No. 23 PITTSBURGH 73, VILLANOVA 64, OT: In Pittsburgh, Talib Zanna scored nine of his 14 points in overtime as the Panthers rallied.
Zanna added a career-high 19 rebounds for the Panthers (23-7, 11-6 Big East), who trailed by as much as nine in the second half.
Ryan Arcidiacono led Villanova with 23 points but the Wildcats (18-12, 9-8) let an opportunity to pad their NCAA tournament résumé slip away.