Michigan State holds off Purdue to win Big Ten Tournament

After squeaking by Maryland in the Big Ten semifinals, the Michigan State Spartans met with the Purdue Boilermakers in the championship game with a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament on the line for MSU.

Purdue won the only meeting between the Big Ten powers earlier in the season at West Lafayette, 82-81 in overtime. On Sunday, the Spartans got their revenge in dramatic fashion, fending off the Boilers late for a 66-62 victory to win their fifth Big Ten Tournament crown.

The Spartans in back-to-back games turn up the defense late after struggling to make shots from the field to hold off two quality opponents in Maryland on Saturday and Purdue on Sunday. They shared the wealth again in the championship round, 11 different Spartans recorded a point. Senior Denzel Valentine recorded 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists, leading the team in all three categories on Sunday.

Bryn Forbes struggled again from 3-point land, converting on only one of six attempts, but finished with 9 points and hit two of his four free throws late in the game to help put it on ice.

A day after combining for half of their team’s points in the victory over Michigan in the semifinals, Purdue’s big man tandem of A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas struggled to get anything going against MSU. The two combined for just 15 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore Vince Edwards was the game’s leading scorer in the contest with 19 points.

A big difference in this game? Purdue’s three-point shooting. The Boilers were just 3-15 from outside the parabola.

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With the NCAA Tournament bracket being revealed at 6 p.m. ET on CBS, the Spartans all but locked up a No. 1 seed in the big dance. Meanwhile for Purdue, they are looking at anywhere between a No. 3 and No. 5 seed. Given the right draw, they can make a run towards Houston.

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