EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- For three minutes, severely undermanned Michigan was in charge against its biggest rival. Then Michigan State's defense locked in.
Maurice Ager scored 18 points as No. 13 Michigan State shook off a slow start and cruised to its eighth straight win, a 64-53 victory over intrastate and Big Ten Conference rival Michigan.
Despite starting their 11th different lineup this season, the Wolverines took a 7-0 lead three minutes in on two baskets by Dion Harris and a 3-pointer by Ronald Coleman. The Spartans' defense picked up the intensity and held the Wolverines scoreless for nearly the next seven minutes. During that span, the Spartans built a 12-7 lead that they did not relinquish.
Michigan, which has been besieged by injuries this season, played this one without point guard Daniel Horton, who was suspended indefinitely due to a legal situation.
Ager scored 10 of his points in the opening half to help the Spartans (13-3, 5-1 Big Ten) take a 28-22 lead into the break.
Michigan State's Alan Anderson keyed an 8-0 run to start the second half with a dunk and a layup. A three-point play by Chris Hill and two free throws by Paul Davis with 5:08 left pushed the lead to 61-43.
"I thought they really took advantage of us at times," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. "Their pressure and their depth really wore us down. I thought the difference, in all honesty, was the start of the second half. We got out really slowly for whatever reason and they got to a double-digit lead and put us on our heels."
Without Horton, who was averaging 14 points and four assists, the Spartans harassed the Wolverines (12-8, 3-3) into 23 turnovers. They also held a 35-25 advantage on the boards, but Michigan State coach Tom Izzo wasn't impressed with his team's 47 percent (24-of-51) shooting and 17 turnovers.
"I thought we played very well defensively and very poor offensively," Izzo said. "I think Michigan played awfully hard and deserves some credit. Offensively, the turnovers and shooting really hurt us, especially the turnovers. We would pull down a rebound and immediately throw it away.
"We are to the point of the season when it is crunch time. We need to be getting better. If we play like that in a couple of days, we are going to set a North American loss record, and I don't want to be a part of that."
Harris, who scored 12 points, was forced to handle the ball more and committed six turnovers.
"I thought we did a good job on Harris and their big men inside," Izzo said. "Outrebounding them was big, especially when we had a small lineup in there, like we did several times."
Davis, who didn't start because of an injured left ankle, scored 12 points and Anderson added 10 for Michigan State, which has won 11 of the last 12 in this series.
"I was really pleased with the play of Paul Davis," Izzo said. "We honestly didn't know if he would play a minute. He didn't even participate in the shootaround this morning."
Courtney Sims scored 12 points and Coleman added 10 for the Wolverines, who have dropped three straight games after winning six in a row.