No. 10 Michigan St. 77, No. 20 Wisconsin 64
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP)—Alan Anderson got choked up—and it had nothing to do with earning a spot in Michigan State’s record books.
Anderson didn’t miss and scored a career-high 28 to lead the 10th-ranked Spartans to a 77-64 win over No. 20 Wisconsin on Thursday.
He was 10-of-10 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line, becoming the fourth Michigan State player to take at least 10 shots without missing.
But the senior forward paused and stammered as he spoke after the game because the Spartans snapped a 12-game losing streak against ranked opponents and a six-game skid against Wisconsin.
“It was our last chance against those guys,” Anderson said. “This one was big, man. They took our home-winning streak from us. They took a couple of championships, too. That’s why we were so emotional.”
The Spartans (20-4, 11-2 Big Ten) have won 10 of 11 since losing to the Badgers on Jan. 16, winning their last nine by double digits.
Those lopsided victories didn’t quiet their critics because of the streak against ranked opponents since the regional finals of the 2003 NCAA tournament.
“I don’t think I could be happier for our players,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “This has been hard on them. It wasn’t like they conquered the world, but we beat a good team soundly.”
Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker had 18 points, Mike Wilkinson scored 16 points and reserve Zach Morley added 11.
The Badgers (17-7, 8-5) have lost three of five, allowing Indiana to pull into a third-place tie in the Big Ten standings.
“We don’t like to say it happens at Wisconsin, but they outworked us,” Tucker said.
The Spartans beat Wisconsin for the first time since Feb. 27, 2001—thanks to Anderson.
Anderson, whose previous career high was 18 points, scored 11 straight points early in the first half. His one-man spurt gave Michigan State an 11-point lead, which it maintained easily.
“He did a great job of penetrating and taking care of business around the basket,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “You name it, he did it.”
Anderson matched a field-goal percentage mark at Michigan State with three other players. Ron Charles made all 12 of his shots in a game in 1980 while Carlton Valentine (1986) and Bob Chapman (1977) both went 11-for-11.
“I don’t think I missed a shot in warmups,” Anderson said. “I said, ‘Man, this feels good.”’
Paul Davis had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Spartans while Shannon Brown and Maurice Ager each had 11.
Anderson gave the Spartans a big cushion by himself a couple minutes into the game.
He scored all Michigan State’s points during an 11-2 run, which gave the Spartans a 15-4 lead with 13:53 left in the first half.
“He got hot early and hit all the big shots,” Tucker said.
Michigan State led by as much as 14 before halftime and didn’t let the Badgers get closer than eight after Anderson’s scoring barrage. Anderson scored 15 points in the first half to help Michigan State take a 33-25 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Spartans to earn a comfortable lead again. Offensive rebounds led to seven of their first eight points in the second half, giving them a 41-27 lead with 17:55 left.
“Those (offensive rebounds) reminded me a little bit of our teams in the past,” Izzo said. “Those are backbreakers.”
The Badgers didn’t pull within single digits again until there was just over a minute left.