Northwestern held a three-point lead with 26 second remaining, but Michigan State stayed alive. MSU cut into the Wildcat lead, with a pair of free throws. Still leading by one, Luka Mirkovic hit one of two free throws with 25 seconds remaining.
On the other end, Draymond Green was fouled, and hit both free throws, tying the game at 60. Northwestern had a chance to win it, but Juice Thompson slipped and traveled, giving Michigan State the last shot in the game. But Draymond Green's three-pointer fell short, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, Northwestern had a chance separate. The Wildcats led by three, and had possession, but sophomore forward Drew Crawford threw a bad pass to Michigan State's Draymond Green, who took it in for an easy slam. That was the first basket of a Spartan 7-0 run, giving them a lead which they would not let up.
After Kalin Lucas missed a three-pointer, Northwestern had yet another chance to win it. The Wildcats were up against a tight Spartan defense, and could not get a good shot away. Northwestern held the ball for the entire shot clock, before John Shurna air-balled a long three-point heave.
Northwestern had one final chance after Korie Lucious hit just one of two free throws. But Juice Thompson was fouled, giving him two free throws, while the Wildcats were down by three. Thompson missed both free throws, which would be the final blow for the Wildcats.
Michigan State freshman Keith Appling led all scorers with 19 points, while Northwestern's Drew Crawford had 16 points in the losing effort.
Northwestern played one of their best defensive efforts of the season, holding the often-explosive Spartan offense to 37% from the field.
However, the Wildcats' fifth loss of the season will be one that they regret. Northwestern blew a chance for a huge resume boost.
The Wildcats return to action Tuesday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena, when they take on the Michigan Wolverines.