With some swagger and a sweet stroke, Nik Stauskas lifted Michigan to a rare win at Michigan State.
Stauskas made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:12 left and finished with 19 points to lead the 21st-ranked Wolverines to an 80-75 win over the third-ranked Spartans on Saturday night to remain the only Big Ten team without a conference loss.
The sophomore shooting guard had four assists and unofficially had another one, separating coach John Beilein from a face-to-face argument with an official with 4:01 remaining.
"He was about to get a technical," Stauskas said.
Stauskas helped the usually mild-mannered Beilein from saying or doing something that might cost his team points just before the Wolverines (15-4, 7-0 Big Ten) went on a 10-0 run late in the game to take control.
"That's a great step in his leadership," Beilein said with a grin.
The Wolverines won for just the second time in 15 games at the Breslin Center.
Michigan is the first team since at least the 1996-97 season to win three straight games against top-10 teams in the regular season, according to STATS. The Wolverines, who had never pulled off that feat in school history, were coming off a win against No. 10 Iowa at home after beating then-No. 3 Wisconsin on the road.
"This is a great win for us because of who we were just able to beat," Beilein said. "It's one of the classiest, best programs in the country."
Freshman Derrick Walton Jr. scored a season-high 19 and Caris LeVert scored 17 for the Wolverines, who have won nine straight without standout center Mitch McGary.
The Spartans (18-2, 7-1) had won 11 straight since losing to North Carolina at home, but the streak was snapped by their rival soon after another injury-related setback.
"The better team won," coach Tom Izzo acknowledged.
Find more coverage of Saturday's game in Monday's Tribune.