Big Ten: Michigan tops Minnesota in OT; Michigan State, Wisky advance
Trey Burke's 30 points helped the Wolverines outlast the Gophers 73-69 in OT
Michigan State cruised to a 92-75 victory over Iowa in the Big Ten quarterfinals
Rob Wilson scored a career-high 30 points for Wisky in its 79-71 win over Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Michigan's Trey Burke saw overtime as a new opportunity.
After watching his teammates struggle in the first half, and the Wolverines nearly eliminated from Big Ten tournament play in the second half, the freshman guard took matters into his own hands.
Burke scored seven of his career-high 30 points in the final five minutes, including the last 3-pointer in a late flurry of long-range shots, to help No. 10 Michigan rally for a 73-69 victory over Minnesota in the quarterfinals.
"We just kept telling each other that we weren't going to win it on the offensive side, it was going to be the defensive side that was going to help us come out with the win," Burke said. "We got down late in the game and our bigs stepped up. We all stepped up on the defensive end and got it into overtime, and that gave us another chance to get the win."
Michigan (24-8) didn't blow it, and now will face either surging Purdue or archrival Ohio State on Saturday for a chance to reach Sunday's title game.
The Wolverines split the two-game series with both teams during the regular season and wound up tied with the Buckeyes and No. 8 Michigan State for the league's regular-season title.
If Burke, an Ohio native, keeps playing this well, he could be the difference Saturday, too.
Burke started fast, scoring 11 of Michigan's first 12 points, and finished strong. He was 11 of 14 from the field, 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, had three assists, two rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Plus, he had just enough help.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18 of his 20 points after halftime. Zack Novak, Evan Smotrycz, Stu Douglass and Burke combined for five consecutive 3s - the first three helping to force overtime and the last two giving Michigan the early edge in the extra period.
That was all Burke and his teammates needed to boost their confidence.
"Except for these two right here, our whole team had been struggling. So give guys credit," Novak said who was sitting with Burke and Hardaway. "Evan is able to knock down a shot. Trey's pretty much doing whatever he wants. I pretty much get wide open for one there, Tim hit me on another one and when you've got two guys that garner so much attention and guys that can get wide open shots, it's our job to knock them down."
They also delivered a devastating knockout punch to Minnesota (19-14), which played for the second straight day without injured center Ralph Sampson III (back).
And the Golden Gophers couldn't blame anybody but themselves.
With 4:37 left in regulation, Minnesota had a 54-45 lead and was in prime position to pull off the biggest upset of the tournament. But the Gophers managed only one more basket in regulation, gave up two 3s in the final 72 seconds of regulation and then failed to convert on either of its game-winning chances in the closing seconds.
Andre Hollins led Minnesota with 21 points, and Rodney Williams finished with 20 points and six rebounds but failed to hit the 10-foot, off-balance buzzer-beater that would have given the Gophers a dramatic victory - and coach Tubby Smith his 100th win since taking the Minnesota job in 2007.
Instead, they're heading home uncertain of their postseason fate.
"I said, let's hold out hope, let's keep hope alive that we will get an opportunity to play, but fate was in our hands and we just didn't get it done," Smith said. "So we'll just have to wait and see what happens."
Minnesota finally broke open the back-and-forth game when it went on a 13-4 run late in the second half. Williams' emphatic slam dunk with 4:37 left made it 54-45.
Michigan then changed its philosophy.
By locking up Minnesota's offense, it gave the long-range shooters a chance to go to work. Novak knocked down one 3 with 3:33 to go and another with 1:12 left to make it 56-53. Smotrycz's 3 tied the score at 56 with 17.6 seconds left.
Douglass and Burke started overtime with two more 3s, and when Douglass' 7-footer rolled in the Wolverines had a 64-57 lead with 2:13 to go. All they had to do was make free throws to close it out.
"Like I said it was the defensive end. We came out with a different attitude," Burke said. "We locked down, we got on the boards. We just came out with another mindset. We came out and told each other we're out here together and we got the win."
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jared Sullinger still relishes carrying the load.
Sullinger had a season-high 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help No. 7 Ohio State beat Purdue 88-71 on Friday night in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
Sullinger defers more often than he did last season, sharing the spotlight with Deshaun Thomas and William Buford. This time, it was his show.
"Honestly, not trying to toot my own horn, we played through me," the 6-foot-9, 265-pound forward said. "I thought that was the biggest key to this game. Our guards found a way to find me in the post."
Purdue coach Matt Painter agreed with him.
"When things get sticky, you have to get it to your horse and Jared Sullinger's a horse, man," Painter said. "He's a great player and we had to do a better job of keeping it out of the post and not in his hands. But that's easier said than done. When we had size in there, he still had a lot of success. I'm just impressed with him."
Thomas had 22 points and seven rebounds and Buford scored nine of his 11 points in the second half for the third-seeded Buckeyes (26-6). Ohio State shot 61 percent to post its second-best scoring output of the season and outrebounded Purdue 39-28.
The Buckeyes will play No. 10 Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines defeated Minnesota 73-69 in overtime in an earlier quarterfinal.
D.J. Byrd scored 20 points and Terone Johnson added 15 for the Boilermakers (21-12). Robbie Hummel, Purdue's top scorer, finished with six points on 2-for-8 shooting.
The Boilermakers made 12 of 26 from 3-point range but were overwhelmed by Ohio State's size and athleticism in the paint.
Purdue missed its first five shots to fall behind 7-0, and the deficit increased to 19-11 before the Boilermakers rallied. Byrd hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to cut Ohio State's lead to 33-30.
Hummel stuffed Sullinger's shot on one end and Anthony Johnson made a 3-pointer on the other end to trim Ohio State's lead to 35-33. Sullinger's 3-pointer with 34 seconds left in the first half gave the Buckeyes a 40-36 lead at the break.
Ohio State shot 60 percent from the field in the first half, but Purdue hung tough by making 6 of 13 from long range.
The Buckeyes pushed their lead to 52-41 early in the second half after Sullinger scored six points during an 8-0 run.
"Finally we broke down and had that run," Sullinger said. "Our communication was great. Like coach (Thad) Matta always tells us, when we're talking on the defensive end, that always carries over to our offense."
Byrd drained another 3 to trim Ohio State's lead to 62-59, but the Buckeyes took over from there. Buford came back with a three-point play, Thomas scored on a putback, Sullinger scored on a post-up against Hummel and Buford converted another three-point play to give the Buckeyes a 72-61 lead with 5:23 remaining. A 3-pointer by Buford bumped the lead to 14, and the Buckeyes remained in control from there.
"We were poor in transition and couldn't get some shots to fall and we obviously couldn't keep them off the glass or keep the ball from going inside," Painter said. "That combination just kind of sealed the deal for Ohio State."
The Buckeyes were pleased with their effort against a Purdue squad that had averaged nearly 79 points in its previous five games.
"I think we eventually locked down on defense," Sullinger said. "We stepped letting them get to the basket. We just played together and we had five guys connecting on defense and when we do that, it's pretty hard to score against us."
Matta expected a tough game. The Buckeyes beat Purdue 87-84 in their regular-season meeting, and Purdue was coming off a victory over Nebraska on Thursday and had won three of four.
"We knew Purdue was going to come with great energy off the win from last night," he said. "When they threw it up today, I was kind of curious at how we would play in a tournament environment. I think we can continue to grow."
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Michigan State could do little wrong against Iowa in the first half, and that's all it took for the eighth-ranked Spartans to move into the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Shooting 70 per cent from the field over the first 20 minutes, Michigan State cruised to a 92-75 victory over the Hawkeyes on Friday, with Draymond Green leading the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
"In the halfcourt, they were pounding it inside," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "We went from man to zone, back to man and back to zone. There's not much more you can do. We pressed a little bit, but we give up a lot of size to them."
Michigan State (25-7) led 55-39 at the break after scoring on all but nine of their possessions. Adreian Payne chipped in with a career-high 16 points, Keith Appling had 12 points and six assists and Brandon Wood added 10 points.
When it was over, top-seeded Michigan State shot 58 per cent from the field, and looks ready to go on one of its usual March runs in the NCAA tournament.
"What did impress me today was our passing and or unselfishness for three-fourths of that game," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
The Spartans will play No. 15 Wisconsin on Saturday - the Badgers defeated No. 14 Indiana 79-71 in another quarterfinal Friday.
Izzo said he needs his defense to improve if the wins are to continue.
"You have to be able to defend and rebound in this tournament because you don't have many 90-point games in the NCAA tournament or this kind of tournament," he said. "I think we did that pretty well most of the time."
Josh Oglesby scored 20 points for Iowa (17-16). Zach McCabe and Roy Devyn Marble added 13 points each for the Hawkeyes, who defeated Illinois on Thursday. Iowa entered Friday's game having won four of six games, including wins against Indiana and Wisconsin.
But the Hawkeyes faced a significant size disadvantage against the Spartans. The Hawkeyes didn't grab their first offensive rebound until 2:39 remained in the first half, and they lost the overall rebounding matchup 36-24.
Michigan State played its first game without forward Branden Dawson, a freshman who tore a left knee ligament in the regular-season finale against Ohio State.
The Spartans didn't need him against the Hawkeyes, who have the Big Ten's worst defense. Michigan State defeated Iowa 95-61 on Jan. 10, and this one wasn't much different.
A reverse layup by Derrick Nix, then a putback by Green on Nix's missed free throw put Michigan State up 26-22 midway through the first half. A 3-pointer by Payne pushed the lead to 31-22 and forced Iowa to call timeout.
Three Spartans scored in double figures in the first half, with Payne's 12 points leading the way. Payne came into the game averaging just under seven points.
Iowa made 12 of 26 shots overall and 5 of 11 3-pointers in the first half, a respectable showing that normally would keep a team competitive. But Michigan State left little margin for error. The Spartans led by as many as 28 points in the second half.
"We played really hard," McCaffery said. "I thought at the start of the game, we came out the right way. We had a good beginning, but I thought it got away from us there a little bit in the second half."
It was a good bounce-back game for the Spartans, who closed the regular season with losses to Indiana and Ohio State.
"Coach reminded us before the game," Green said. "I forgot that we had two losses in a row. It's a brand new season. I just completely forgot about it, knowing that we were 0-0. We're 1-0 now and one step closer."
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Rob Wilson spent his first four seasons at Wisconsin trying to fit in.
In Friday's Big Ten quarterfinals, he emerged as the Badgers' shooting star.
The senior guard with only two career starts made seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 30 points to lead No. 14 Wisconsin past No. 15 Indiana 79-71, giving coach Bo Ryan a record-breaking win, as well.
It's a performance the Badgers won't soon forget.
"I think all the players, I think all the teams that we've had have worked so hard and I just happened to be the guy roaming the sidelines," said Ryan, who became the school's career leader in victories with No. 266.
Wilson, the most unlikely of heroes, made sure the Badgers coach was along for the ride again Friday.
He came into the game with season averages of 10.7 minutes, 3.1 points, a season-high of 11 points, a career-high of 13 and a career 3-point shooting percentage of 27.8.
But he was a completely different player Friday. As he fought through defenders, sprinted to open spots and beat a bevy of Indiana defenders, Wilson knocked down 7 of 10 from 3-point range and 11 of 16 shots overall. And, of course, he made all the big ones.
Because of Wilson, the Badgers (24-8) will get another shot against No. 8 Michigan State. The Spartans won both regular season meetings and were one of three conference teams tied atop the regular-season standings. Michigan State advanced to the tourney semifinals with a 92-75 victory over Iowa.
"The weight of the ball felt like it was going in today. I don't remember that feeling in a long time," Wilson said. "I don't know when the last time was I've been in the interview room."
For the Badgers, it was a record-setting day.
In addition to Wilson's big game and Ryan's record-breaking win, they also tied the tourney record by making 13 of 26 from 3-point range. It had been done four other times, most recently by Purdue in Thursday night's opening round. They also extended the school's longest winning streak against Indiana to 10 straight.
The Hoosiers (25-8) haven't beaten Wisconsin since Jan. 31, 2007.
Just hours after announcing point guard Verdell Jones was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, the Hoosiers turned in their worst performance in weeks. Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Cody Zeller each scored 17 points. Only two other players had more than five.
The defensive breakdowns wound up costing Indiana its five-game winning streak and a shot at its first tournament title. Coach Tom Crean wasn't completely surprised by Wilson's game. Indiana just couldn't do anything to stop him.
"As we told our team, he was the most improved player on their team since the last time we played them," Crean said. "He brought a different dose of energy to their team when he was in the game. But to shoot it the way he did today. In the last five games he hit seven 3s, and today he hit seven 3s. Some of them were reading screens wrong, some of them were overhelp situations. ... But they don't put anybody out on the floor that can't make shots."
It didn't take long to see how this game would develop.
Wisconsin jumped out quickly, making seven 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes with most coming on wide-open looks. It allowed the Badgers to take a 28-18 lead, and forced the Hoosiers to play catch-up the rest of the game.
Indiana closed to 36-31 at the break, but every time it got close in the second half, Wilson always seemed to have an answer.
After Jordan Taylor was called for a flagrant foul - of the old intentional variety - on what would have been a breakaway layup, Victor Oladipo made 1 of 2 free throws, and Indiana then turned the ball over.
Wilson responded with back-to-back 3s to make it 48-41.
When Indiana again closed to 48-47, Wilson hit another 3.
"I don't know if I can pinpoint a specific point where I knew he was hot, but you could definitely feel it," Badgers forward Jared Berggren said. "You could see the confidence in him. He's been doing this in practice lately."
So was there any doubt who the Badgers would go to when they needed the late knockout punch?
All Wilson did this time was make his last 3 of the game with 35.4 seconds left to send the Hoosiers home empty-handed.
"Rob's a scorer, he can put it in the hole and he showed that tonight. It's something he's been doing here recently now," Taylor said. "I'm just happy for him. I'm so happy, I feel like I had 30."
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