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.
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 and Charles Matthews had 12.
Miles Bridges had 17 points to lead Michigan State before fouling out late. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 13 and Cassius Winston had 11, but they 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 ran 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: 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.
Michigan: Play in the title game against the winner of the game between third-seeded Purdue and seventh-seeded Penn State.
Michigan State: Finds out who it is playing in the NCAA Tournament.
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