EAST LANSING, Mich. — Lindsey Pulliam scored 22 points, Veronica Burton added 19 and No. 22 Northwestern held on to beat Michigan State 63-60 on Sunday after blowing a 21-point lead.
Burton scored eight points in the fourth quarter and Pulliam hit the jumper that erased Michigan State’s only lead of the game with 2:48 to play. The Spartans had a 15-3 run, taking the lead at 58-56 on a Janai Crooms jumper with 3:52 to play.
Michigan State, which trailed 37-16 in the closing minute of the first half, had a turnover, missed its last four shots and went 2 of 4 from the foul line from that point. One of those free throws tied the game at 59 but Burton quickly responded with a layup with 1:53 to go. Following a miss by MSU, Burton made a pair from the line.
Down 63-59 with 40 seconds remaining, Crooms made 1 of 2 from the the line and the Spartans elected to not foul. They forced a shot-clock violation with 7.5 seconds to go but Nia Clouden’s two 3-point attempts for the tie were off the mark.
Pulliam and Burton combined for 15 points in the first quarter when the Wildcats (11-3, 9-3 Big Ten Conference) opened a 19-7 lead and had a combined 23 to build a 37-18 halftime lead.
Taiyier Parks scored 13 points for MSU (10-5, 5-5), Clouden added 12 and Crooms 10.
Northwestern then shot 29% in the second half while Michigan State shot 50% and was plus-14 on the boards. However, the Wildcats were 24 of 37 from the foul line for the game while Michigan state was just 11 of 22.
Rutgers visits Northwestern on Thursday and Michigan State is at Penn State on Saturday.