East Lansing, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Adreian Payne scored 20 points with 14 rebounds as No. 9 Michigan State took an 85-70 win over Northwestern in a Big Ten battle on Thursday.
Denzel Valentine had 16 points with six assists and five rebounds for the Spartans (21-4, 10-2 Big Ten), who were coming off a two-point loss to Wisconsin on Sunday and are now tied with Michigan for the top spot in the conference.
JerShon Cobb led all scored with 22 points and added seven rebounds for the Wildcats (12-13, 5-7), who have dropped their past two. Drew Crawford had 18 points and seven helpers in the loss.
Northwestern kept the first half close for much of the time, and tied the game several times, with Tre Demps' 3-pointer getting Northwestern to within one, 23-22, with just over nine minutes to play.
Matt Costello, though, turned a three-point play to start a 13-3 run and that helped Michigan State take a 39-30 lead into the break.
The Spartans scored the first seven points of the second half, capped on an Payne 3-pointer for a quick 46-30 lead.
Northwestern kept the game from getting out of hand for the next couple of minutes, and a jumper from Alex Olah cut the deficit to 58-46 with under 14 minutes to play.
Michigan State, though, scored the next seven points for a 19-point lead and Northwestern got no closer than 11 back the rest of the way.