Gabe Brown scored 20 points, Marcus Bingham Jr. added 13 and No. 10 Michigan State rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit for a 73-67 victory over Northwestern on Sunday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Max Christie had 11 points and Joey Hauser added 10 as the Spartans (12-2, 3-0 Big Ten) won their seventh straight.
Pete Nance had 13 points before fouling out and Boo Buie and Chase Audige had 12 points apiece for Northwestern (8-3, 1-1).
Northwestern beat then No. 4 Michigan State 79-65 at Welsh-Ryan Arena last season. The Wildcats led virtually the entire first half and had a 31-18 advantage following a Nance basket with just over three minutes left before the break.
The Wildcats led 33-26 at halftime after holding Michigan State to 9-for-27 shooting, including 1 for 10 on 3-pointers, in the first half.
The Spartans picked up the pace at the start of the second half, putting together eight straight points — capped by a short jumper by Brown — to grab a 36-35 lead with 17 minutes. It was MSU’s first lead since the opening minutes of the first half.
MSU led 52-44 with just under 10 minutes left before NU put together a 13-5 spurt for a tie at 57, but Michigan State ran off eight straight points to regain command with 4 1/2 minutes to go.
The Spartans, though, went scoreless for nearly four minutes as Northwestern pulled within 65-63. Brown then essentially put the game away with a 3-pointer with 49.1 seconds remaining.
Michigan State: The Spartans also trailed at halftime in their last game against High Point before rallying in the second half for an 81-68 win. Although they overcame a 13-point deficit on Sunday, uneven performances won’t lead to much success in conference play.
Northwestern: The Wildcats aren’t going to overwhelm anyone with talent in the ultra competitive Big Ten, so the key to their success will be the effort on the defensive end. Northwestern held Maryland to 17-for-59 (28.8 percent) in the conference opener last month. Still, the Wildcats will need more production on the offensive end to win games.
Michigan State: Host Nebraska on Wednesday night.
Northwestern: Host Penn State on Wednesday night.