Michigan State University didn’t win the regular season title, but the Spartans made up for it March.
They won the Big Ten tournament by topping the Purdue Boilermakers. The final score: 66-62.
For a while, it looked like MSU was going to coast to victory. After a nip-and-tuck first quarter, the Spartans cruised during the last ten minutes of the first half to go to intermission with a 10 point, 36-26 lead.
But the Boilermakers battled back with an 11-2 run (that included an 8-0 stretch). Purdue got to within 4, then within 1 point a couple of times. With about 8 minutes to go, the score was 52-51 MSU, and with about 2 minutes to go, it was 62-61 MSU.
“We make it a little harder, we’ve got to clean that up,” said head coach Tom Izzo after the game, “but Purdue’s a really good team.”
But Purdue could never take the lead. A three point shot that would have put them up by 1 with less than a minute to go rimmed out, and Matt Costello iced the game with free throws to give MSU a 4 point lead with 8 seconds to go.
“My teammates did a great job down the stretch of playing defense and executing,” said senior and star Denzel Valentine after the game. “This feels really good right now.”
The win sets MSU up for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Valentine seemed to back off his “guarantee” that the Spartans win the national championship, but he did say MSU is in control of its own destiny.
“If we come to play, I think we can beat any team in the country,” he said.
6 Sports reporter Alex Sims is Indianapolis for the game and will have the highlights, celebration, and post-game report coming up tonight on 6 News at 11.