Michigan Wolverines clinch Big 10 men's basketball title with 69-50 win over Michigan State
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR — Franz Wagner scored 19 points, Hunter Dickinson added 14 and No. 2 Michigan wrapped up the Big Ten title with a 69-50 victory over rival Michigan State on Thursday night.
The Wolverines (19-2, 14-2) had a chance to clinch the championship based on winning percentage with a victory in any of their final three games. They were blown out by No. 4 Illinois — the team chasing them — on Tuesday night, but they rebounded with a gritty effort two nights later.
Michigan went on a 9-2 run to take a 39-28 lead into halftime. The Wolverines later went on a 25-4 tear that spanned much of the second half.
Aaron Henry scored 14 points for Michigan State (14-11, 8-11), which will finish with a losing conference record for the first time since 1993. It had never happened before under coach Tom Izzo, and the Spartans are struggling to extend Izzo’s streak of 22 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Michigan State did have two recent wins over top-five opponents, beating Illinois and Ohio State. The Spartans will get another crack at Michigan on Sunday. This home-and-home series to finish the regular season came about because of the Michigan athletic department’s coronavirus-related pause that started in January.
Wagner and Mike Smith both had 3-pointers early in Michigan’s second-half run. Dickinson also had a couple big dunks, and the 7-foot-1 center made another big play when he dove on the floor for a loose ball.