Big Ten

2018 Big Ten Tournament: Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Penn State Advance to Semifinals

No. 1 Michigan State def. No. 9 Wisconsin, 63-60

The no. 1 seed was tested by Wisconsin in the quarterfinal round. Second Team All-Big Ten big man Ethan Happ got himself going inside early and often for Wisconsin. Happ finished with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor.

Michigan State closed the first half on an 8-0 run including a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Cassius Winston to give the Spartans a 32-28 lead at the break.

Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Jaron Jackson Jr. committed his third foul early in the second half. He would only record 15 minutes of play.

The Spartans and the Badgers exchanged runs throughout the entire game. Aleem Ford hit a pair of threes early in the second half to give Wisconsin a boost and tied the game for the seventh time at 38-38 in the first five minutes. After two more scores by Wisconsin, the Spartans responded with their own 7-0 run that put them back up by three with 11:36 left.

Jackson Jr. would return late in the game and converted a crucial and-one to give the Spartans a five-point lead with under six minutes left. He ended up fouling out of the game with 1:51 left.

Late missed free throws hurt Wisconsin’s chances of closing a small gap down the stretch. The Badgers missed four out of their six attempts from the foul line. Ethan Happ missed the front end of a one-and-one where both makes could have tied the game. Matt McQuaid knocked down a three-pointer on the following possession to give Michigan State their deciding five-point lead with 1:29 left.

Wisconsin had a chance to tie it at the end of regulation, down three with the ball after Miles Bridges missed the front end of a one-and-one. But the Spartans successfully switched everything and forced Brad Davison into a difficult shot. Michigan State will take on Michigan in the semifinals on Saturday.

No. 5 Michigan def. No. 4 Nebraska, 77-58

Michigan put together an 11-0 run midway through the first half to create the first bit of separation in the game. 12 of their first 16 points came from the three-point line. Nebraska struggled to generate offense initially, shooting only 23 percent from the field on five made field goals through the first 12 minutes of play.

Their struggles compiled into multiple breakdowns on defense, giving Michigan some easy baskets at the rim and in the paint. The Wolverines surged their lead to 15 with 3:25 left in the first half, but Nebraska would cut the lead to ten with a 6-0 run to close the first half.

Nebraska fought to cut the lead to eight in the second half, but Michigan kept Second Team All-Big Ten forward Mo Wagner was getting his looks and hit a couple of threes to put their lead back to 15 with 11:03 remaining. Michigan’s lead mounted to 19 with six minutes left after a myriad of threes from Duncan Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman. Robinson, Abdur-Rahkman, and big man Mo Wagner combined for 11-of-16 shooting behind the arc. Michigan shot 11-for-23 (+21) as a team.

The Wolverines will face Michigan State in the semifinal round on Saturday.

No. 7 Penn State def. No. 2 Ohio State, 69-68

Penn State got off to a 9-4 start in the first six minutes, including a couple of breakaway dunks by Lamar Stevens and a three-pointer by First Team All-Big Ten guard Tony Carr. After a three-pointer by Shep Garner made it 12-4, Ohio State responded with an 11-0 run, taking a three-point lead midway through the first half.

Both teams shot over 40 percent from three in the first half. Penn State held a 14-3 advantage in second-chance points and gained a 33-32 lead at the break with Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens in double figures. Every player for Ohio State scored in the first half.

Penn State was the early aggressor in the second half, sparking a 7-0 run and gaining a five-point lead in the first few minutes. The Buckeyes responded, even with Jae’Sean Tate on the bench with three fouls. Keita Bates-Diop started to simply take over the game, and Ohio State brought the game back to a tie at 49-49 midway through the second half.

It came down to the final stretch of possessions. Ohio State was up by one point when Keita Bates-Diop turned the ball over on a drive. Tony Carr made the go-ahead play, beating Dakich off the dribble and hitting Josh Reaves on a cut for a wide open dunk with three seconds left. Ohio State had to go the length of the floor on the inbound after two timeouts, but C.J. Jackson didn’t get a heave off in time to beat the buzzer.

Penn State will face Purdue-Rutgers in the semifinal round on Saturday.

No. 3 Purdue def. No. 14 Rutgers, 82-75

Rutgers threw the first punch with a 13-5 early lead as Purdue started out shooting 2-for-10 from the field. The Boilermakers responded with a 7-0 run, achieving consecutive defensive stops while Rutgers catalyst Corey Sanders was on the bench. Rutgers would then respond with a 6-0 run with Sanders back on the floor. Purdue came back with a pair of threes to counter momentum.

The two teams battled blow for blow over the course of the first half, but Rutgers held onto the lead into halftime. Freshman guard Geo Baker had 12 first-half points on some fearless shotmaking. Purdue shot 57 percent in the field in the first half, but Rutgers shot 59 percent, contributing to their three-point lead at the break.

Purdue jumped out to a 13-3 run to open the second half, sparked by a couple of threes by Carsen Edwards.

Geo Baker’s and-one conversion would tie the game at 62-62 with 8:31 remaining. When it came time to make a push late in the second half, Purdue answered the bell. Carsen and Vincent Edwards along with PJ Thompson made timely three-pointers that helped Purdue gain a seven-point lead with 4:30 left.

With under three minutes left, Purdue went inside to their anchor Isaac Haas, who delivered on two big baskets inside. Corey Sanders and Geo Baker seemed to have countless responses, knocking down consecutive pull-up jumpers in pursuit of Purdue’s thin lead down the stretch.

Big Ten

Purdue huddles before a free throw (Photo by Martin Soaries / Basketball Society)

With a three-point lead, Haas was fouled down low but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Corey Sanders came up with the rebound and was fouled. Sanders was short on the front end of his one-and-one. On the rebound, Carsen Edwards was fouled and knocked down both free throws to give Purdue a deciding five-point lead with 29.4 seconds remaining. Sanders would drive the ball on the next possession but was called for an offensive foul. Purdue would close out the game at the free throw line.

Rutgers owned the effort plays. They won the rebounding battle (36-28), bench points (35-3), second-chance points (20-2), and points in the paint (30-26). And while Rutgers had special performances from Corey Sanders (23 points) and freshman Geo Baker (25 points), Purdue got 52 of their 82 points from Carsen and Vincent Edwards. The Boilermakers shot 13-for-30 from three (+24) and 54 percent from the field in the game. They shot over 50 percent from the field in both halves, while Rutgers’ 59 percent shooting in the first half dropped to 38 percent in the second half, including 2-of-7 from three-point land.

Purdue will meet Penn State in the semifinal round on Saturday.

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