It looked like Michigan State was set to run away with the game in both the first half and the second half, but a 14-point first-half lead and 11-point second-half lead evaporated.
In the second half, Michigan State built the lead behind a 17-2 run, but Northwestern responded with a 15-2 run. Vic Law and Tre Demps hit a pair of 3s for Northwestern before Alex Olah made a lay up to give Northwestern the 70-68 lead.
Denzel Valentine came back for MSU with a shot off the glass to tie it.
Demps made a pair of free throws to give Northwestern a 72-70 lead, but Valentine made a pair as well to bring the game even 72-72 before Demps’ final attempt was no good.
All five starters for Michigan State finished in double digits, led by Trice with 18 points and 10 assists.
Branden Dawson fell one rebound short of his third straight double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Denzel Valentine, who did not play for the first 7:22 of the second half, finished with 17 points. His 3-pointer soon after checking back into the game gave MSU a 55-53 lead.
Gavin Schilling had 13 points while Bryn Forbes had 11.
Freshman Bryant McIntosh fueled the Wildcats with 18 points and Demps had 17 as they hit 12 of 25 from 3-point range.
The Spartans had lost their previous three games in overtime this season so far to Notre Dame, Texas Southern and Maryland.