EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Draymond Green had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Keith Appling scored 20 points and No. 7 Michigan State beat No. 15 Wisconsin 69-55 on Thursday night to move back into a first-place tie with No. 6 Ohio State.
The Spartans (21-5, 10-3 Big Ten) have won four straight — the longest active streak in the conference — and six of their last seven games.
The Badgers (19-7, 8-5) had won seven of their last eight, including their previous four road games, after opening the Big Ten season with three straight losses.
Appling’s three-point play with 5:24 left in the first half capped a 14-0 run that gave Michigan State a 22-12 lead.
The Spartans led 31-19 at halftime and built a 53-33 lead midway through the second half. This was their sixth win over a ranked team this season, most in Division I.
Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor missed 10 of his 13 shots and was held to 13 points.
Michigan State, which snapped the Buckeyes’ 39-game home winning streak Saturday night, improved to 16-0 at the Breslin Center.
The home of the Spartans was so loud late in the first half that official Mike Sanzere told ranting Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan that he couldn’t hear him.
Ryan was often livid in the first half, screaming about calls that were made or that he thought were missed, but was much more subdued on the sideline after halftime as the Badgers headed toward a familiar fate on the road against a highly ranked team in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin has lost 40 straight games as visitors in the conference against top-10 teams since winning at No. 4 Ohio State on Nov. 26, 1980, according to STATS, LLC.
Taylor, who averaged 29 points in his previous two games against Michigan State, got his first field goal with 5 seconds left in the first half after missing his first six shots.
Ryan Evans scored 17 points for Wisconsin and Jared Berggren had 10.
Berggren spilled blood — literally — in the traditionally physical matchup and went to the bench to have his cut covered by several bandages. The game was later stopped briefly to clean up the court.
Michigan State’s bruising center, Derrick Nix, had 12 points and a three-point play that pushed the lead to 20 points with 9:46 left in the game.
The Badgers pulled within nine points with 3:16 left, but the rout was restored and Tom Izzo put his seldom-used reserves in the game during the final minute.
Ryan, though, wanted to have one last word with his team and called a timeout with 21.4 seconds left down by 14 points.
Before tipoff, Izzo came out of his locker room and had a nervous grimace just before stepping on the court.
Michigan State boosted Izzo’s confidence by scoring the first six points, but validated his nerves by falling behind 12-8 midway through the first half.
That’s when the game was stopped to get Berggren’s blood off the court and when the Green-led Spartans took control.
Green made two free throws, a go-ahead fastbreak layup and a 3-pointer in a 2-plus minute stretch that proved to be pivotal for the Big Ten’s hottest team.
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