EditorsNote: style fix
Cassius Winston’s driving layup with 29.1 seconds left Sunday snapped a tie and lifted No. 6 Michigan State to a 65-60 victory over No. 10 Michigan for the Big Ten Conference tournament title at the United Center in Chicago.
It was the third victory over the Wolverines by the Spartans (28-6), who will take plenty of momentum into the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Michigan also finished 28-6 despite its struggles with its in-state rival.
Winston finished with 14 points and 11 assists despite a sprained ankle in Saturday’s semifinal. But the game’s leading scorer was senior Matt McQuaid, who, in his 135th game, pumped in a career-high 27 points, going 7 of 13 on 3-pointers.
Ignas Brazdeikis scored 19 points for the Wolverines, but his shot to tie the game in the last 20 seconds was blocked by Aaron Henry. Jordan Poole added 13 and Jon Teske chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Henry made a free throw with 12.8 seconds left to put Michigan State up 63-60. Poole tossed an air ball on a 3-pointer, and free throws by Kenny Goins with 2.3 seconds remaining capped a game-ending 10-0 run.
The first 10 minutes took a heavily defensive bent, as could have been expected of familiar rivals playing for the third time in 22 days. The score was 7-7 more than 6 1/2 minutes into the game before Michigan State finally found a bit of traction.
A 3-pointer by Winston with 9:59 left in the half put the Spartans ahead 17-11. But the Wolverines rallied by exploiting the 7-foot-1 Teske, normally a pick-and-pop guy offensively, inside against smaller foes. He scored six points during a 17-3 run that gave them a 28-20 advantage at the 2:46 mark.
Michigan State went into halftime trailing 31-23. It also had to deal with the loss of reserve forward Kyle Ahrens, who was stretchered off the floor after suffering an injury late in the half. X-rays on his foot were negative and he returned to his team’s bench during the second half.
—Field Level Media