Turtle Soup! Spartans Move On To Big 10 Championship Game

(WLNS) – For a while it appeared the Michigan State Spartans weren’t sure when their game against the Maryland Terrapins was supposed to start. They started ice-cold against a team that had beaten them twice in the regular season.
Maryland roared out to a 23-7 lead early on. Maryland freshman Melo Trimble scored 13 points before halftime while the Spartans were missing their first nine shots from the floor. But Spartan senior Travis Trice decided to take charge and began launching three-point shots. With Trice leading the way, the Spartans chipped away at the deficit and went into the locker room at halftime only down eight points.
In the second half Marvin Clark gave a hint of what was to come when he threw down a dunk that left the rim rattling. That brought the Spartans to within one point. Once again, Trice took command. He drove the lane and got mugged on the way to the basket. His shot went in, the crowd went crazy and Trice added two more points to his team-high 20.
Senior leadership can be a major factor during tournament time. Denzel Valentine lobbed a perfect pass to Gavin Schilling and Schilling threw down a dunk that came down so hard it almost drilled through the floor. Valentine wasn’t done dishing out assists. He found senior Branden Dawson and pitched a perfect alley-oop pass for another rim-shaking dunk. Dawson finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
There are some that would call the 62-58 win an upset. Others might say Tom Izzo has the Spartans right where he wants them to be at NCAA Tournament time.
Lourawls Nairn had heard all the talk about March and he believes it’s living up to the hype. He admits he has never played in an environment like March tourney so he leans on players who have been there before.
“I lean towards Travis, Zel, BJ and Matt and they help me get through it.”
Senior Travis Trice was aware of the dangers of being down 16 points to a good Maryland team. The Spartans were feeling the pressure but not cracking. “I think that’s the beauty of our team is we’re so close we’re like a family that we just fed off of each other,” said Trice. “Not one person felt all the pressure on themselves, we felt it as a team. It was crazy.”
Now Tom Izzo prepares to meet Bo Ryan for the Big Ten title. “It’s a perfect ending for Bo and I to be here. You know we’ve had some wars together and we’ve had a lot of great games and played for championships. You know this is the dream that I have every year for my team to be able to play for a championship and there’s nothing more exciting to me than that.”
You’ll be able to watch the Spartans take on Wisconsin Sunday afternoon on WLNS-TV. 6 Sports Audrey Dahlgren is in Chicago with the team and will have updates from courtside.

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