"I really don't think I did on purpose," Ward said after the Wolverines routed the Spartans 86-57 on Tuesday night. "But (the officials) thought I did."
Ward was walking toward his bench during a timeout when his right foot connected with Wagner's left foot, sending the sophomore forward tumbling to the ground. Officials reviewed the sequence on video monitors during the timeout and decided to call Ward, a freshman forward, for a contact dead-ball technical foul with 3:49 left in the first half.
After the game, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he hadn't seen a replay of what Ward did or didn't do to send Wagner down to the court.
"If he tripped him, that's the most unexcusable thing there was," Izzo said. "I'm not dealing with that. He's going to hear about that. ... Wagner can be a pain in the butt, too. Let's not kid each other here about what goes on. It went on at our place, too. But the experience guy got the inexperienced guy."
Wagner simply said it was a physical game with Ward and the Spartans.
"He's the five for Michigan State and I'm the five for Michigan, so obviously we're going at each other," Wagner said. "That's just all it is, I think. All this little stuff, that doesn't really matter to me. I just care about the win."
Tripping has become a topic this season because of Duke's Grayson Allen.
Allen, a preseason All-America, has been called for tripping an opponent three times while playing for the Blue Devils. He was suspended for one game and stripped of his team captaincy this season.