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Michigan downs the Spartans, heads to Big Ten Tournament title game

For the second time this year, the Wolverines beat Michigan State by double figures and is heading back to the Big Ten Tournament title game.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Michigan State vs Michigan Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

In a season where Michigan State was predicted to win the Big Ten Conference, it was the other team in the state who took a tournament title chance from them.

For the second consecutive season, it will be the Michigan Wolverines heading to the conference title game after defeating No. 1 seeded MSU 75-64 on Saturday in Madison Square Garden.

The Wolverines will await the winner No. 7 Penn State and No. 3 Purdue for who they will play tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. and it will be televised on CBS.


The Wolverines started the game extremely hot from beyond the arc, with Charles Matthews sinking back-to-back 3-pointers to give U-M a 14-6 advantage.

MSU would fire right back with a 10-0 run capped off by a Gavin Schilling alley-oop to take a 16-14 lead with 11:16 remaining in the half.

Miles Bridges made his presence felt with a triple followed by a Xavier Tillman dunk to give MSU a 29-26 lead. It forced John Beilein to call a timeout with less than two minutes to go in the half.

That would be the score at halftime as U-M missed its last eight shots of the first half. The Wolverines were outscored in the paint 16-8, out-rebounded 23-17 and went just 4-of-18 from deep.

Moritz Wagner, who was 0-of-8 from the field in the first half, made a statement out of the locker room.

The German forward continued to shoot and eventually it led to three of his next four shots falling, resulting in a 10-2 run and a 36-31 U-M advantage.

With MSU closing the gap, Abdur-Rahkman sunk his second 3-pointer of the game to give the Wolverines a 42-37 lead nearing the 11 minute mark.

The Wolverines would keep building the lead, getting contested layups from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson to post a 54-47 lead with 7:10 to go.

Matthews would throw a turnover in transition which resulted in a Matt McQuaid triple from the corner, making it 63-57 U-M with 2:07 to play.

Robinson would drive to the basket for an and-one nearing the one minute mark which essentially sealed the game for the Wolverines.

Abdur-Rahkman, Simpson and Wagner led the Wolverines with 15 points apiece. Matthews finished with 12 points and Robinson added 13, respectively.

Game notes

  • Bridges fouled out for just the second time in his 59-game career at MSU.
  • After being out-rebounded in the first half, U-M finished with the 36-33 advantage on the glass.
  • Both teams had 15 bench points apiece.
  • This is the first time since 2014 that the Wolverines downed the Spartans twice in the same year.
  • U-M out-scored MSU 24-9 on the free-throw-line.