ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In another physical confrontation between Michigan and Michigan State, the Wolverines dismantled the Spartans in blowout fashion, 86-57, late Tuesday night.
However, inside the game, there was another battle brewing between MSU’s Nick Ward and U-M’s Moritz Wagner, who were both seen trash talking to each other, trading jabs physically and emotionally throughout the night.
“Well, he’s the five for Michigan State and I’m the five for Michigan, obviously we’re going at each other,” Wagner said of Ward moments after U-M’s statement win. “That’s just how it is, I think. All that little stuff doesn’t really matter to me. I just care about the win. I think those type of emotions come up in a game like that.”
Ward helped lead MSU to a 70-62 victory 10 days earlier in East Lansing. And just like on Tuesday, words were said, their bodies clashed, and Wagner didn’t forget for game No. 2.
“I mean, that’s what players do, like basketball players, you don’t forget stuff like that,” Wagner said, who scored 19 points in the win. “Like, honestly, I really don’t care about that. I’m not trying to do stuff like that. I’m just trying to be focused out there and help my team win.”
And while Wagner admits he’s unaware of his emotion during games, he says his goal is to simply motivate his teammates to play better by his theatrics.
“This is not something I do on purpose,” Wagner said of his playing with emotion. “I guess it’s just something that comes out of me. It’s in my nature I guess. Sometimes I watch film afterwards and I see this guy out there, I’m like ‘what is he doing?’ And I feel a little but ashamed. But I’m just trying to be communicative and inspiring the others by talking as much as possible.”
Michigan plays at Indiana on Sunday at 1 p.m.