ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Over the past few weeks, as opposing defenses keyed on him, Michigan's Nik Stauskas has remained patient, hesitant to force anything at the offensive end.
Then Michigan State came to town, and that changed in a big way for the sophomore guard.
Stauskas scored 21 of his 25 in the second half, repeatedly making contested shots from the perimeter to help the 20th-ranked Wolverines to a 79-70 win Sunday over the No. 13 Spartans. Michigan rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit and wrested first place in the Big Ten from its in-state rival.
"I just came out with the mind-set in the second half that I wasn't going to be stopped," Stauskas said. "Once I made a couple shots, it kept going from there."
Caris LeVert added 23 points for the Wolverines (19-7, 11-3 Big Ten), who won both regular-season meetings against Michigan State. Michigan has won six of the past eight in the series.
The Spartans (22-6, 11-4) started well but were up only 36-34 at halftime. Then Stauskas and LeVert led a second-half charge. The Wolverines trailed 52-51 before going on a 13-0 run that sent the Crisler Center crowd into delirium.
Michigan scored 45 in the second half after blitzing the Spartans for 50 after halftime in an 80-75 win in East Lansing last month.
"The first game, I was very proud of our effort. This game, we looked tired," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I'm not very proud of our effort."
Gary Harris scored 21 for Michigan State.
Michigan now has a chance to earn its second Big Ten title in three years after tying for the title in 2012. The Wolverines have home games against Minnesota and Indiana still to come, along with trips to Purdue and Illinois. Michigan State has home games against Illinois and Iowa followed by a trip to Ohio State.
NO. 11 CREIGHTON 72, SETON HALL 71: Doug McDermott had 29 points to become one of the top 10 scorers in college history, and the host Bluejays (23-4, 13-2 Big East) survived missing five of their last six free throws. McDermott has 2,917 points, passing Alfredrick Hughes for 10th all time.
SMU 64, NO. 22 UCONN 55: Nick Russell and Nic Moore scored 15 each for the visiting Mustangs, who swept their season series with the Huskies (21-6, 9-5 American Athletic).
NO. 4 S.C. 69, UF 55: Tiffany Mitchell scored 20, Alaina Coates added 16 points and 12 rebounds and the host Gamecocks (25-2, 13-1 SEC) won their ninth straight and set a program record for conference wins by fighting off the Gators (17-10, 7-7).
FSU 59, CLEMSON 43: Natasha Howard became the second all-time leading scorer for the visiting Seminoles (18-9, 6-8 ACC), who had season highs of 56 total rebounds and 30 offensive boards against the Tigers (12-17, 4-11). Howard had 19 points and has 1,666 for her career, passing Tia Paschal.
NO. 2 NOTRE DAME 81, NO. 7 DUKE 70: Kayla McBride scored 31 for the host Irish (27-0, 14-0 ACC), who took an early 18-point lead and held on to claim the conference title in their inaugural season in the league. The Blue Devils (24-4, 11-3) had won the past four conference titles.
NO. 3 L'VILLE 72, NO. 25 RUTGERS 58: Asia Taylor had 25 points and 15 rebounds for the Cardinals (27-2, 15-1 American Athletic), who blew past the Scarlet Knights (20-6, 11-4) in the second half and tied a school mark with 17 home wins.
NO. 5 STANFORD 65, UCLA 56: Chiney Ogwumike had 26 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks as the visiting Cardinal (26-2, 15-1 Pac-12) clinched its 14th straight league regular-season title outright.
NO. 8 MARYLAND 79, GA. TECH 62: Alyssa Thomas had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and the visiting Terrapins (22-5, 10-4 ACC) never trailed in winning for the sixth time in seven games.
NO. 10 TENN. 56, MISSOURI 50: Meighan Simmons scored 20 and Isabelle Harrison hit four key free throws in the final 34.7 seconds to lift the visiting Vols (22-5, 11-3 SEC).
VA. TECH 50, NO. 11 UNC 47: Vanessa Panousis tied a career high with 24 points for the Hokies, who held the Tar Heels (21-7, 9-5 ACC) to 15-of-56 shooting (26.8 percent) and won for the first time in 10 games at Chapel Hill.
NO. 12 OKLA. ST. 63, TEXAS TECH 62: Tiffany Bias went the length of the court for the winning basket with 1.5 seconds left as the visiting Cowgirls (21-5, 10-5 Big 12) narrowly avoided an upset.
NO. 14 N.C. STATE 68, UVA 66: Markeisha Gatling had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Kody Burke hit the winning 3 as the host Wolfpack (23-5, 10-4 ACC) rallied.
NO. 15 KENTUCKY 83, NO. 16 TEXAS A&M 74: Jennifer O'Neill had 17 points for the visiting Wildcats (20-7, 8-6 SEC), who pulled away from the Aggies (21-7, 11-3) with a game-ending 8-2 run and earned their fifth 20-win season in a row.
NO. 18 CAL 76, USC 67: Reshanda Gray had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the visiting Bears (20-7, 12-4 Pac-12), who opened the second half with a 15-2 run and held on for their sixth win in a row.
ARKANSAS 57, NO. 19 LSU 53: Jessica Jackson scored 25 to help the visiting Razorbacks upset the Tigers (18-9, 7-7 SEC).
NO. 20 ARIZ. ST. 60, UTAH 40: Promise Amukamara hit a 3 in the closing seconds of the first half to give the host Sun Devils (22-6, 11-5 Pac-12) the lead for good.
NO. 21 PURDUE 70, WIS. 54: April Wilson had 18 points and eight assists to help the host Boilermakers (20-7, 10-5 Big 10) win their fifth straight and sweep the season series.
CREIGHTON 65, NO. 22 ST. JOHN'S 62: Marissa Janning scored 24 for the host BlueJays, who avenged last month's loss to the Red Storm (19-7, 12-3 Big East).