EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State turned a highly anticipated, historic matchup into a showcase of what its proud program is capable of doing this season.
Gary Harris scored 17 points and Derrick Nix had 14 to help the eighth-ranked Spartans rout No. 4 Michigan 75-52 on Tuesday night in the rivalry’s first matchup of top 10 teams.
“It was the perfect storm," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “We played about as well as we can."
The Spartans (21-4, 10-2 Big Ten) broke a first-place tie in the conference with No. 1 Indiana, which plays at Michigan State next Tuesday after the Spartans try to avoid a letdown Saturday night at Nebraska.
Michigan State’s Keith Appling acknowledged he was a little bit surprised by the lopsided victory — the school’s largest since beating Michigan by 27 points in 2002 — but shrugged off the significance of it with much of the regular season remaining.
“We just have to take it for what it is and prepare for our next game," Appling said.
The Wolverines (21-4, 8-4) have lost three of four, but the closely contested setbacks on the road against the Hoosiers and at Wisconsin were nothing like the latest when they were held to a season-low point total.
Trey Burke scored 18 points for Michigan:
Also on Tuesday:
No. 7 Florida 69
No. 25 Kentucky 52
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Scottie Wilbekin had 14 points and eight assists for Florida (20-3, 10-1 Southeastern Conference). The Wildcats (17-7, 8-3) lost Nerlens Noel, the nation’s leading shot-blocker, to an injured left knee.