Feb. 24, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Paul Davis heaved the basketball toward the scoreboard hanging over the court, his teammates hugged and the fans cheered wildly.
Yes, it was a big victory for Michigan State.
Alan Anderson didn't miss a shot and scored a career-high 28 points to lead the 10th-ranked Spartans to a 77-64 win over No. 20 Wisconsin on Thursday night, snapping a 12-game losing streak against ranked opponents and a six-game skid against the Badgers.
"A lot of weight just came off our shoulders," said Davis, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds. "I guess we proved some critics wrong."
The Spartans (20-4, 11-2 Big Ten) have won 10 of 11 since losing to the Badgers on Jan. 16, winning their past nine by double digits.
Those lopsided victories didn't quiet many skeptics because of the streak against ranked opponents dating to the regional finals of the 2003 NCAA tournament.
"It's no secret, we needed to get over one hurdle," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "There's a bunch more hurdles to go, but you have to get over the first.
"We had to get over this one to give this team a chance to get the weight of the world off their shoulders and to move on."
Anderson made sure the Spartans didn't have to talk about why they failed to win another marquee game.
He was 10-of-10 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line, becoming the fourth Michigan State player to take at least 10 shots without missing. The senior forward surpassed his previous career high of 18 points early in the second half.
"He did a great job of penetrating and taking care of business around the basket," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "You name it, he did it."
Anderson matched a field-goal percentage mark at Michigan State. Ron Charles made all 12 of his shots in a game in 1980, while Carlton Valentine (1986) and Bob Chapman (1977) both went 11-for-11.
"I don't think I missed a shot in warmups," Anderson said. "I said, `Man, this feels good.'"
Alando Tucker scored 18 points and Mike Wilkinson had 16 for the Badgers (17-7, 8-5), who have lost three of five, allowing Indiana to pull into a third-place tie in the Big Ten standings.
"We don't like to say it happens at Wisconsin, but they outworked us," Tucker said.
The Spartans beat Wisconsin for the first time since Feb. 27, 2001 -- thanks to Anderson.
He scored 11 straight points for Michigan State early in the first half, giving the Spartans an 11-point lead, which they maintained easily.
"The way they're playing, it was hard to get it to single digits, let alone five or four points and that's what we needed to have a chance," Ryan said.
Michigan State led by as much as 14 before halftime and didn't let the Badgers get closer than eight after Anderson's scoring barrage. Anderson scored 15 points in the first half to help Michigan State take a 33-25 lead.
It didn't take long for the Spartans to earn a comfortable lead again. Offensive rebounds led to seven of their first eight points in the second half, giving them a 41-27 lead with 17:55 left.
Wisconsin didn't pull within single digits again until there was just over a minute left.
AP Sports Writer