Freshmen trio leads Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team past Michigan, 70-62

Michigan’s Zak Irvin, right, drives against Michigan State’s Alvin Ellis III during the first half Sunday in East Lansing. The Spartans won 70-62. (AP photo)

EAST LANSING — Michigan State had a trio of freshmen play like savvy and talented veterans in their first game against Michigan.

Miles Bridges had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Cassius Winston scored 16 and Nick Ward added 13 points to lead the Spartans in a 70-62 win over the Wolverines on Sunday.

“We knew the intensity level was going to be higher than any other game,” Bridges said. “We just had to stay poised, keep our calm and just continue to do what we do.”

Michigan State (13-9, 5-4 Big Ten) won its fifth straight game in the series and ended a three-game losing streak this season, giving its NCAA Tournament hopes a boost.

“Every game right now is a must-win to turn our season around,” Winston said.

The Wolverines (14-8, 4-5) had won two straight and three of four, improving its chances of getting off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament.

“If both teams are playing for a championship, it’s big,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said. “But if both teams are playing for survival, it’s just as big or even bigger.”

The emotionally charged game featured 12 lead changes and eight ties.

Derrick Walton scored 19 of his season-high 24 points after halftime for the Wolverines, but didn’t get a lot of help. Michigan’s leading scorer, Zak Irvin, was scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting after not practicing recently due to an illness.

Moritz Wagner had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Wolverines.