NEW YORK (AP) — Mo Wagner scored 14 of his 15 points after a dreadful first half and fifth-seeded Michigan moved within a game of its second straight Big Ten Tournament title with a 75-64 victory over top-seeded Michigan State in the conference semifinals Saturday, ending the No. 2 ranked Spartans’ 13-game winning streak. Michigan will play Purdue in the conference tournament championship game at 4:30 p.m. Sunday (see article at the end of this one).
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson also had 15 for the No. 15 Wolverines (27-7), who were also the last team to beat Michigan State (29-4), when they did it on Jan. 13.
Michigan was just too balanced and quick for Michigan State, putting five players in double figures. Duncan Robinson added 13 points off the bench, Charles Matthews had 12 and Wolverines lit up the Spartans’ defense, hitting 12 of 18 from the field and making 20 of 27 free throws in the final 20 minutes
Miles Bridges had 17 points to lead Michigan State before fouling out late. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 13 and Cassius Winston had 11, but the Spartans only crossed into double figures with the Michigan band revving the Maize and Blue faithful at Madison Square Garden with yet another version of “Hail To The Victors.”
This was a rivalry game that both teams wanted and it showed in the opening minutes. There were two scrums after hard fouls, a technical foul was called against the Spartans’ forward Nick Ward and referee Gene Steratore — yeah, the guy who led the officiating crew at the Super Bowl — lectured both Tom Izzo of Michigan State and John Beilein of Michigan after the nonsense. And that was just in the opening 4:24.
Michigan trailed 29-26 at the half, but used a 10-2 burst to open the second half and take a 36-31 lead it never lost.
Wagner, who was 0 for 7 in the first 20 minutes had three baskets and a free throw, with a drive to the hoop seemingly getting him going.
Michigan State would get within two points a couple of times and was within 50-47 when Bridges hit a 3-pointer with 8:28 to go. However, Abdur-Rahkman and Simpson sandwiched layups around a missed jumper by Bridges to ignite a 7-2 spurt that Robinson capped with two free throws for a 57-49 edge with 5:23 left.
Michigan State never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Michigan: Hitting stride late once again. It won the conference last year as the No. 8 seed.
Michigan State: Played well for roughly 20 minutes in two tournament games.
NEW YORK (AP) — Carsen Edwards scored 27 points and No. 8 Purdue pulled away from Penn State in the second half of a 78-70 victory Saturday that put the Boilermakers in the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the second time in three seasons.
Third-seeded Purdue (28-5) faces No. 5 Michigan, which will try to repeat as tournament champs on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Purdue frustrated conference scoring leader Tony Carr, holding him to 4-of-18 shooting and 12 points. Shep Garner led the Nittany Lions (21-12) with 33 points.
The Boilermakers will be making their third appearance in the Big Ten championship since the tournament started in 1998. Their one championship came in 2009.
Against Penn State, Purdue used a 12-2 run the middle of the second half to build a 15-point lead. Edwards led the way, spinning through the lane for a driving layup and making a 3 from up top that made the score 59-44 with 9:15 left.
Edwards made back-to-back 3s to make it 74-56 with 3:41 left and Purdue was on its way to play for a title. Edwards was 6 for 9 from 3 and Isaac Haas added 17 points and seven rebounds.
With Carr struggling, Penn State could not keep up. The sophomore faced an array of defenders, including Vincent Edwards, Nojel Eastern and P.J. Thompson. He picked up a third foul in the second half, a push off call that caused Penn State coach Pat Chambers to draw a technical.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions had a chance to work their way into the conversation for an NCAA at-large bid by beating Purdue, but now Penn State seems like a long shot at best.
Purdue: The Boilermakers hit a rough patch losing three straight close games in early February to Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, but an argument can be made that they have been the Big Ten’s most consistent team this season. With four senior starters, Purdue does most everything well, except rebound. A night after giving up 17 offensive boards to Rutgers, the Boilermakers allowed 16 rebounds to Penn State.
Garner went 4 for 5 from 3-point range, including a four-point play, to carry Penn State in the first half. The Nittany Lions led much of the way, but Edwards made a 3 for Purdue with 2 seconds left in the half to send the Boilermakers to the break ahead 33-31.
Penn State: An NIT bid is likely coming the Nittany Lions way, though the big question beyond March is whether Carr returns for another season or heads to the NBA draft.
Purdue: The Boilermakers swept the Wolverines in two games decided by a combined five points.