No.8 Michigan State 65, No.14 Wisconsin 52
INDIANAPOLIS – Just as quickly as Wisconsin looked the part of a Final Four contender, the Badgers showed why it’s hard to peg how long they’ll play in March.
When Wisconsin staggered its rival on the ropes with an early punch, Michigan State sent a hook and uppercut right back, and the Badgers never responded in their third loss to Sparty in 2012, this time a 65-52 decision in Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Badgers (24-9) came out like gangbusters with a 20-9 lead following Jared Berggren’s 3-pointer with 10 minutes and change remaining in the first half.
That was the last field goal UW would make the remainder for the next 12 minutes. In that frame, Michigan State (26-7) had pounded the Badgers with a 28-5 run, taking a double-digit lead it sustained the remainder of the afternoon.
MSU became just the second team to defeat the Badgers three times in a season in Bo Ryan’s 11 years on the UW sideline, following NCAA runner-up Illinois (37-2) in 2004-05.
Big Ten player of the year Draymond Green filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, 16 rebounds and five assists.
Jordan Taylor led UW with 19 points while Ryan Evans added 18.
The Badgers, seeded fourth in the league tournament behind the tri-champions, await their seeding fate for the NCAAs, where they’re still looking good for a top-four assignment.
Michigan State advances to the Big Ten Tournament championship for the first time since 2000, the year it last won a national title. The top-seeded Spartans will take on either No. 2 Michigan or No. 3 Ohio State.
Wisconsin dropped to 3-3 against Michigan State in the league tournament, breaking a 3-game winning streak. Izzo’s Spartans went on to win the crown after each of its previous Big Ten tourney triumphs over Wisconsin.
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Notes:Wisconsin held a 20-9 lead near the midway mark of the first half, but Michigan State responded with a 26-5 to close out the first half ... The Badgers cut the lead to as few as six points with 12:18 to play following a 13-0 run, but would get no closer ... Jordan Taylor scored a game-high 19 points, while Ryan Evans added 18 and 5 rebounds
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