Michigan, Michigan State to meet for Big Ten title
Michigan and Michigan State won semifinal games to reach Sunday’s final of the Big Ten men’s tournament in Indianapolis.
The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS – Eighth-ranked Michigan ended 15 years of Big Ten tournament frustration Saturday.
There is still work to do before the Wolverines can really celebrate.
After blowing a 12-point second-half lead, Michigan closed the game with a 7-1 run and survived a potential tying three-pointer in the closing seconds for its first tournament victory over No. 24 Ohio State, 72-69.
“We weren’t thinking about winning the Big Ten Conference championship, the tournament,” conference player of the year Nik Stauskas said. “We were thinking about just beating Ohio State. This is a rivalry game.”
Michigan, the Big Ten regular-season champion, will play another rivalry game Sunday — against Michigan State for the title. The 22nd-ranked Spartans beat No. 12 Wisconsin 83-75.
Michigan hadn’t won a semifinal game since 1998, when it took the inaugural tournament title only to vacate it because of NCAA rules violations. Since then, the Wolverines had failed to win two straight games in the league tournament and had lost all six times it played Ohio State in Indianapolis or Chicago.
Not this time.
The top-seeded Wolverines started the game with an offensive flurry and ended it with a stout defensive stretch that ended with Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft losing control of the ball as he tried a three-pointer that could have forced overtime. Instead, the Wolverines came up with the loose ball to eliminate the conference’s defending tournament champion.
Stauskas finished with 18 points. Ohio native Caris LeVert had 17 points and seven rebounds and Glenn Robinson III wound up with 11 points, including two free throws that gave Michigan the lead for good with 2:55 to play.
Michigan State’s Adreian Payne scored 18 points and Branden Dawson added 14 against Wisconsin.
Other men’s tournaments
Anthony Gill made two free throws with 8.5 seconds left to help No. 6 Virginia hold off Pittsburgh 51-48 in a semifinal game in Greensboro, N.C.
Joe Harris, who is from Chelan, scored 12 points to lead the Cavaliers, who won the ACC regular-season title outright.
Virginia will play No. 7 Duke in Sunday’s final. The Blue Devils beat North Carolina State 75-67.
Pitt had a chance to tie Virginia with four seconds left, but Justin Anderson tipped James Robinson’s three-pointer to Gill with 0.5 seconds left.
Duke’s Jabari Parker scored 20 points. North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren, the ACC player of the year, had 21 points but was 4 of 13 from the field in the second half.
Patric Young scored 16 points and Florida, ranked No. 1 in the nation, turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, rallying for a 56-49 victory over Tennessee in the semifinal round in Atlanta. The Gators trailed 35-28 at halftime.
Florida’s opponent in Sunday’s final is Kentucky, which beat Georgia 70-58.
Aaron Harrison scored 22 points for Kentucky, which improved to 38-2 in SEC semifinal games.
Bryce Cotton scored 23 points and Providence won its first Big East title since 1994, beating No. 14 Creighton 65-56 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The fourth-seeded Friars, who earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, used a 2-3 zone defense to hold second-seeded Creighton 24 points below its season average and to an 8-for-30 effort from behind the three-point line.
Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who entered the game leading the nation in scoring with a 26.5 average, was 10 of 19 from the field for 27 points.
DeAndre Kane scored 17 points, Georges Niang added 13 and 16th-ranked Iowa State beat Baylor 74-65 in Kansas City, Mo., to win its first conference- tournament title since 2000.
No. 5 Louisville, the defending NCAA champion, beat 21st-ranked Connecticut 71-61 in Memphis, Tenn., for the inaugural AAC title in what will be the Cardinals’ lone season in the conference. Louisville, previously in the Big East, will move to the ACC.
Montrezl Harrell had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Louisville.
Cameron Bairstow scored 17 points to lead No. 20 New Mexico to a 64-58 victory over No. 8 San Diego State for the tournament title in Las Vegas.
Bairstow scored five of the Lobos’ last eight points to help them win their third straight title.
Xavier Thames, who started his college career at Washington State, led the Aztecs with 15 points.
• In other conference finals, Weber State beat North Dakota 88-67 in the Big Sky in Ogden, Utah; New Mexico State defeated Idaho 77-55 in the Western Athletic in Las Vegas; and Cal Poly beat Cal State Northridge 61-59 in the Big West in Anaheim, Calif.
Cal Poly, which will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time, is coached by Joe Callero. Before taking the Cal Poly job in April 2009, Callero coached Seattle University. The Enumclaw High graduate was a captain at Central Washington.