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

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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.

Summary

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.