Wolverines end Spartans’ 13-game win streak
NEW YORK — Michigan was the best team in the Big Ten Conference at tournament time last year, and things haven’t changed.
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 on Saturday, ending the No. 2 ranked Spartans’ 13-game winning streak.
Senior swingman Duncan Robinson said this year feels like 2017, when the Wolverines won the tournament as the No. 8 seed, the lowest seed to win the event.
“I think coming down the stretch in that championship game and how it felt, I think all the guys want that again more than anything,” said Robinson, one of five players in double figures in the eighth straight win for No. 15 Michigan (27-7). “We are one step closer, but we still have to stay locked in on the task at hand.”
Michigan will play third-seeded Purdue (28-5) today as the five-day tournament ends at Madison Square Garden. The No. 8-ranked Boilermakers, who edged Michigan twice in the regular season by a combined five points, beat seventh-seeded Penn State 78-70 in the second semifinal.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson also had 15 for the Wolverines, who were also the last team to beat Michigan State (29-4), when they did it on Jan. 13. Robinson added 13 points off the bench and Charles Matthews had 12.
Michigan was just too balanced and quick for Michigan State.
The difference was the second half. Wagner got going and the 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.
Michigan coach John Beilein had a great motivational speech for Wagner, who was 0-for-7 from the field in first 20 minutes.
” ‘Hey, Mo, are you going to make a shot?,’ “ Beilein recalled saying. ” ‘Because right now you’re stinking the place up. Just make one shot.’ “
Wagner laughed when it was mentioned.
“Coach and I have a really good relationship,” he said. “He can say that.”
Miles Bridges had 17 points to lead Michigan State before fouling out late. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 13 and Cassius Winston had 11.
AP TOP 25
No. 1 Virginia 62, Notre Dame 57
No. 15 Michigan 75, No. 2 Michigan St. 64
No. 3 Xavier 65, DePaul 62
No. 4 Villanova 97, Georgetown 73
No. 5 Duke 74, No. 9 North Carolina 64
Oklahoma St. 82, No. 6 Kansas 64
No. 7 Gonzaga 83, Loyola Marymount 69
No. 8 Purdue 78, Penn St. 70
No. 12 Texas Tech 79, TCU 75
No. 14 Auburn 79, South Carolina 70
No. 16 Tennessee 66, Georgia 61
Syracuse 55, No. 18 Clemson 52
No. 19 Arizona 66, California 54
Texas 87, No. 20 West Virginia 79, OT
San Diego St. 79, No. 21 Nevada 74
No. 22 Saint Mary’s 69, Pepperdine 66
Florida 80, No. 23 Kentucky 67
Marshall 76, No. 24 Middle Tennessee 67