For the first time since 1998, Michigan has beaten Michigan State in three straight meetings on the hardwood.

Following senior guard and co-captain Zack Novak’s opening 3-pointer, No. 20 Michigan (5-2 Big Ten, 15-4 overall) led the whole contest before relinquishing the lead with just under seven minutes left in the game after a Brandon Kearney 3-pointer from the corner.

A minute later, freshman point guard Trey Burke tied the contest on a triple of his own from the top of the key, only to lose the lead again on an Austin Thornton 3-pointer that came seconds later.

The Spartans retained the lead until Burke snagged a rebound on the defensive end with 40 seconds to go and pushed the ball in transition. He started to go up with it but instead dished to senior guard and co-captain Stu Douglass just before landing. Douglass finished with an easy layup to take the lead, 60-59.

That would be the final score.

“I saw (Douglass) at the last minute,” Burke said after the game. “I thought it was going to be stolen, and it was just luck. I saw Stu out of the corner of my eyes by himself, I hit him, and he made the layup.”

No. 9 Michigan State (4-2, 15-4) got the ball to its leading scorer — senior forward Draymond Green — for the final possession, but he failed to sink the last second, off-balance shot from the foul line, and Michigan closed out the win.

Burke impressed in his rivalry debut, looking poised and pouring in a game-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The young stud was also stingy on the defensive end, tallying two blocks and two steals.

“Trey, like I’ve said before, he’s going to be a great player,” said sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. “He’s going to be a great player, and if he keeps on doing what he’s doing right now, I don’t see why (he wouldn’t be) Big Ten Player of the Year in upcoming years.”

Douglass also played well in his first start since the season opener against Ferris State, always seeming to deliver when his team needed it most. He started in place of struggling sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz, who had shot a miserable 2-of-19 from the field over the previous three contests.

In the waning moments of the first half, as Michigan State nearly erased a 10-point deficit on a 9-0 run, Douglass nailed a 3-pointer, getting fouled hard by a Spartan defender. He went to the free-throw line and completed the four-point play to kill Michigan State’s momentum and help the Wolverines take a 36-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The play evoked images of Novak’s four-point play from last season at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. Michigan State opened that contest with a 6-0 run, but Novak neutralized the momentum on a 3-pointer from the corner, while being fouled.

“It’s fun, it’s a lot of fun,” Douglass said of those key moments. “I think I’ve been plagued ever since I started playing basketball with just thinking too much. And when you get in those last-second plays, you don’t think, you just act. I’m at my best when I can just kind of let all the other mental stuff — the negative stuff — go.

“If you don’t want that last-second shot, I don’t know what you’re doing playing basketball.”

Michigan had to overcome a couple of major disadvantages to come out of this one with a victory. The Wolverines finished just 6-for-21 from behind the arc (28.6 percent), largely due to the recent shooting woes of Hardaway Jr. and Smotrycz, who were combined 0-for-6 on the day. The pair combined for a woeful 0-for-12 from long range in Saturday’s game at Iowa as well.

Compare that to the Spartans, who shot an efficient 7-for-15 from downtown on clutch shooting from Thornton and Kearney.

“We did enough things to win the game, we did enough things to lose the game,” said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. “But when you do enough things to lose the game, you’re not going to win them on the road, especially in your rival’s backyard.”

The Spartans also did solid work cleaning up the glass, outrebounding the Wolverines, 31-18, and only allowing two offensive boards from Michigan. But Michigan coach John Beilein insists that that was part of the game plan.

“We’re not going to rebound great in that game,” he said. “We sent three people back on every possession — we weren’t trying to get offensive rebounds. … We were trying to take away their transition game, so there’s sort of a method to our madness.”

Ultimately, players agree that one of the biggest advantages Michigan had was the crowd at the Crisler Center, which at times was the loudest it’s been this season. In all likelihood, it was the loudest home crowd Burke has ever played in front of.

“The Maize Rage was great for us, and they kept us energized down the stretch,” Burke said with a smile on his face. “It feels great, just to be able to give Zack and Stu this win, them playing against Michigan State their last time here. That was the greatest feeling.”

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