(Image courtesy of Mlive.com)
Michigan State’s Cassius Winston scored 27 points and as the 16th ranked Spartans won at home against the 19th ranked Buckeyes 80-69 to win a third straight Big Ten championship.
The Spartans (22-9, 14-6 Big Ten) shared the conference title with No. 9 Maryland and No. 24 Wisconsin, now being the second-seeded team at the Big Ten Tournament behind the Badgers.
The Buckeyes (21-10, 11-9) had won four straight and six of their previous seven games.
Ohio State’s leading scorer, Kaleb Wesson, was held to eight points on 1-of-8 shooting after entering the day averaging 14-plus points per game.
Michigan State was in control of much of the evening and pulled away with a 16-4 run late in the game. The Spartans were ahead 38-32 at halftime. They never looked in the rear-view mirror.
Rocket Watts scored 19 points, Xavier Tillman had 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals while Aaron Henry added 12 points for the Spartans.
Duane Washington had 16 points, CJ Walker scored 14, E.J. Liddell had 12 and Luther Muhammad added 10 points for the Buckeyes.
A VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Michigan State had to win to move into a three-way tie for the championship. The Badgers clinched a share of the Big Ten title with a victory Saturday at Indiana and will be the top-seeded team at the Big Ten Tournament. The Terrapins beat No. 25 Michigan earlier on Sunday to also earn a share of the championship and will be the third-seeded team in Indianapolis.
The BIGGER PICTURE:
The Ohio State University: The Buckeyes should get a boost in the postseason with the expected return of Kyle Young, who missed his fourth straight game with a high ankle sprain. The junior forward, who has a protective boot on his right foot, averages seven-plus points and nearly six rebounds per game.
The Spartans: The Spartans are playing good basketball right now as most of Coach Izzo’s teams have done in his 25-year Hall of Fame career as they roll into the end of the season. They started the season ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history and seem to clearly have momentum going into the postseason.
WHAT SHALL THE POLLS INDICATE:
The surging Spartans will likely move up in the poll on Monday with their fifth straight win and the Buckeyes will probably hold onto a spot toward the bottom of the AP Top 25.
The Ohio State University: Chris Holtmann’s team will head into the Conference Tournament with hopes of improving their seeding for the NCAA Tournament.
The Spartans: They are looking to repeat as the Big Ten Tournament champion; though Maryland and Wisconsin have other ideas.