Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Caris LeVert posted 17 points with a game-high eight rebounds to lead eighth-ranked Michigan into the Big Ten Championship with a 72-69 takedown of rival No. 24 Ohio State on Saturday.
Nik Stauskas netted 18 and Glenn Robinson III scored 11 for Michigan (25-7), which has won seven straight. Jordan Morgan and Derrick Walton Jr. had eight points and five boards apiece for the Wolverines, who will take on Michigan State in Sunday's finals.
"I feel so fortunate right now," said Michigan head coach John Beilein. "You look at so many of our games down the stretch here, they've ended just like this and the ball keeps bouncing our way."
LaQuinton Ross paced OSU (25-9) with 19 points in the setback, while Shannon Scott tallied 18 points, six assists and five boards.
The Buckeyes had won all six previous meetings in the Big Ten Tournament between the two schools.
Stauskas' first look at the basket, a wide open triple from the top of the key that hit nothing but nylon, sparked a string of three straight 3-pointers for the Wolverines. Robinson and LeVert also hit from deep and OSU mustered just an Aaron Craft pull-up jumper during the opening segment.
Morgan's two-handed slam from Stauskas capped a 15-2 run to start the game.
The Buckeyes ran off nine straight late in the stanza to draw within six points, 37-31, at 3:06. An acrobatic layup by Walton and a Morgan lay-in had it back to 10 with just over two minutes to play, but Ohio State scored the final six points of the half and trailed just 41-37 at intermission.
"Kind of dug ourselves into a hole again," said Scott, eluding to Ohio State's 18-point deficit before rallying to top Nebraska on Friday. "I feel like as a team when our head's underwater, we start fighting more, and we started doing that again today."
The second half started much like the first, with Stauskas hitting a pair of outside shots during a 9-2 UM surge.
The Buckeyes trimmed the deficit under single digits and gradually fought back, with Ross and Scott doing most of the heavy lifting. After the duo combined for nine straight OSU points, Sam Thompson gave Ohio State its first lead with an alley-oop slam from Scott with 7:58 left.
Neither team led by more than three the rest of the way. Michigan took the lead for the final time on a pair of Robinson free throws with 2:55 remaining, and after Craft missed two foul shots, Stauskas made it 71-68 with a reverse layup that hit every part of the rim before falling through.
LeVert made the play of the game for Michigan, securing an offensive rebound with just under 10 seconds left after Stauskas' isolation 3-ball missed off the front rim. LeVert got the ball to Spike Albrecht, who hit 1-of-2 at the line.
"I'm actually not supposed to offensive rebound at all," admitted LeVert. "I'm supposed to just get back on the play. But I noticed the whole game they weren't really boxing me out ... so I knew I could go get the rebound."
Off the missed second attempt, Craft pushed it the length of the floor but lost control of the ball as he rose up for a potential game-tying 3-pointer. Stauskas corralled the loose ball and ran out the remaining time.
Morgan shot 3-of-4 from the field. Since going scoreless against Iowa on Feb. 8, Morgan is shooting 28-of-38 ... The Wolverines hit 12-of-23 from 3-point range ... Michigan improved to 10-14 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, while Ohio State fell to 22-10 ... The loss snapped OSU's three-game winning streak.
Final Score: (22) Michigan State 83, (12) Wisconsin 75
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Adreian Payne led six Michigan State players in double figures with 18 points as the 22nd-ranked Spartans held off No. 12 Wisconsin, 83-75, to advance to the final of the Big Ten Tournament.
Branden Dawson netted 14 points with seven rebounds, while Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine donated 12 apiece for the Spartans (25-8), who won back-to- back games for the first time since an 11-game winning streak was snapped on Jan. 25.
Keith Appling had 10 points and six assists and Travis Trice scored 11 off the bench for MSU, which will take on Michigan in Sunday's final. The Wolverines swept the season series.
"You know, it's Michigan," said Payne. "We're just excited to be able to play them again. They're a great team."
Wisconsin (26-7) lost despite a game-high 28 points from Frank Kaminsky, who hit all eight of his free-throw attempts in the setback. Sam Dekker and Ben Brust each added 11 points.
"You've got to give them credit on the way they shot the ball," said Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan.
The Badgers will enter the NCAA Tournament having lost two of three on the heels of eight consecutive victories.
MSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed in this one, quickly building a double digit margin on Matt Costello's jumper at 12:50.
"We got off to such a good start," said Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. "I thought we played some of our best basketball of the year in that first five minutes, and we built a pretty good lead."
Traevon Jackson's layup two minutes later cut Wisconsin's deficit to 21-15 before Payne's jumper ignited a 16-1 Spartans flurry, which Harris capped at 5:39 with his layup. Dawson, Payne and Trice all converted three-point plays during the run.
The Spartans led 43-26 after a dominant first half, outscoring Wisconsin 10-0 in transition during the stanza.
Wisconsin made its run midway through the second, with Dekker narrowing the gap to 66-58 with his 3-pointer with 7:44 left. The Badgers never got closer than six the rest of the way.
The Spartans improved to 20-3 with Dawson in the lineup this season. They went just 5-5 without him ... MSU won the rebounding margin, 32-28 ... Wisconsin's three reserves (Duje Dukan, Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig) combined for just one field goal in nine attempts.