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Indiana men win outright Big Ten regular-season title | College basketball
No. 2 Indiana won at seventh-ranked Michigan, taking the Big Ten regular-season men's championship outright.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Cody Zeller squeezed the basketball as the final seconds ticked off the clock, sealing Indiana's first outright Big Ten Conference title in two decades.
It was a fitting finish, for sure. Because without some huge plays by their 7-foot center, the second-ranked Hoosiers would have had to share the conference championship.
Zeller made a go-ahead layup with 13 seconds left and altered Trey Burke's shot at the other end, lifting Indiana to a 72-71 victory over No. 7 Michigan on Sunday.
After falling out of bounds on the final sequence, Zeller got up quickly and gave teammate Christian Watford someone to save the ball to at the end.
"We've been working on that all year — closing out games," said Zeller, who had 25 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hoosiers (26-5 overall, 14-4 Big Ten) trailed by five in the final minute but took advantage when the Wolverines (25-6, 12-6) were unable to close it out at the free-throw line, costing themselves a piece of the Big Ten title.
Jordan Morgan had a fairly easy tip-in attempt of Burke's miss that could have won the game for Michigan, but the ball rolled tantalizingly around the rim and off.
"It just hung there," Burke said.
Watford got to the rebound — Indiana had 23 more boards than Michigan — with four seconds left and threw the ball back inbounds to Zeller.
"Christian made a great play at the end that people might not realize, saving the ball to Cody," Hoosiers guard Jordan Hulls said.
A couple of Michigan's rivals wish the Wolverines had won.
Ohio State, which beat Illinois on Sunday, needed an Indiana loss to earn a share of the conference championship. Michigan State, which defeated Northwestern later in the day, was in the same position.
The Hoosiers had already clinched a share of the title, for the first time since 2002, but needed another victory to finish alone atop the conference for the first time since 1993.
"In retrospect, that'll be good and that'll sink in," Indiana coach Tom Crean said.
Indiana's 26th victory, and the fact that it withstood test after test in the highly competitive Big Ten, might have earned the Hoosiers a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. They will be the top seed at this week's Big Ten tournament in Chicago.
When the Hoosiers finished off Michigan and the teams shook hands along the sideline, Crean and Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer, a former Hoosiers assistant, had a heated exchange.
"I'm not talking about any of that," Crean said. "Ask him."
A message seeking comment from Meyer was left with a Michigan spokesman.
Other Top 10 game
At No. 10 Michigan St. 71,
Keith Appling scored 16 points and Gary Harris added 12 to lift the Spartans (24-7, 13-5 Big Ten) over the Wildcats (13-18, 4-14).
Northwestern rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit, tying the score at 51 in the second half before the Spartans pulled away.
Kale Abrahamson scored 16 points for Northwestern, which has lost eight straight.
Creighton 68, Wichita St. 65
Jahenns Manigat scored a season-best 16 points and made a layup with 11.5 seconds to go that gave the Bluejays (27-7) a victory over the Shockers (26-8) in the conference-tournament final in St. Louis.
Reserve Ethan Wragge had 15 points to help the Bluejays overcome an off day from standout Doug McDermott, who missed six of his first seven shots and was held to 14 points — 10 below his average.
Malcolm Armstead scored 28 points for Wichita State.
Charleston Southern 76
John Caleb Sanders scored 27 points as the Flames (15-20) beat the Buccaneers (19-12) in the final in Conway, S.C., to earn the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Liberty's .429 winning percentage is the lowest for an NCAA-tournament team since Oakland of Michigan had a 12-18 record (.400) in 2005.
Saah Nimley had 18 points to lead the Buccaneers, who as the Big South's regular-season champs will play in the NIT.