MI awaits the victor of this evening's Penn State/Purdue game and will play on Sunday at 4 PM.
But Michigan players and its coach made it clear they are in a NY state of mind. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 13 and Cassius Winston had 11, but the Spartans only crossed into double figures with the MI band revving the Maize and Blue faithful at Madison Square Garden with yet another version of "Hail To The Victors". MI has done this both times these teams played this year and paid as the threes rained down. The Spartans opened the second half 3 of 13 from the floor, and after a Abdur-Rahkman triple with 11:51 to go, it was MI in front, 42-37.
Wagner, who was 0 for 7 in the first 20 minutes had three baskets and a free throw, with a drive to the hoop seemingly getting him going.
A 3-pointer by Michigan State's Matt McQuaid brought the Spartans within five, but Abdur-Rahkman silenced any notion of a comeback.
That lead would grow to seven 4 minutes later, when Abdur-Rahkman and Simpson converted back-to-back layups to push MI in front 54-47 with 7:10 left. "We didn't come here to beat Michigan State". He followed that up by hitting 6 of 8 against Michigan State.
While coach John Beilein had a lot to be happy about following the win, he was not pleased with Wagner's three fouls, all of which came in the second half - two in about the last five minutes.
A three-goal second period for MI helped put the game away as the Badgers.
Michigan was the best team in the Big Ten Conference at tournament time previous year, and things aren't changing.Mo Wagner scored 14 of his 15 points after a awful first half and fifth-seeded Michigan moved within a game of its second straight Big Ten Tournament title with a 75-64 victory over top-seeded Michigan State on Saturday, ending the No. 2 ranked Spartans' 13-game winning streak. He's also scored 20 points or more on three occasions, after doing that just once in the first 22 games.
"We had one guy working and four guys watching, and we were that way offensively and defensively".
The Wolverines started fast and scored half their points in the first 3 1/2 minutes as Matthews buried two 3-pointers to help MI to a quick 13-4 lead. Abdur-Rahkman and sophomore guard Zavier Simpson then converted layups to give MI a seven-point lead with 7:16 to play.
He made back-to-back 3s to make it 74-56 with 3:41 left and Purdue was on its way to play for the title. The sophomore star had 17 points and seven assists, but the rest of his teammates went just 17-of-45 from the field. The sophomore faced an array of defenders, including the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Nojel Eastern, 5-10 P.J.
"We needed to get stops", Penn State coach Patrick Chambers lamented.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions had a chance to work their way into the conversation for an NCAA at-large bid by beating Purdue, but now Penn State seems like a long shot at best.
The Wolverines are not almost as talented as some of the teams Beilein has taken deep in recent NCAA Tournaments, but MI makes up for it with outsized confidence, as well as the most impressive and reliable defense - the Big Ten's best scoring defense this season, allowing 63.5 points per game - his team has ever demonstrated. A night after giving up 17 offensive boards to Rutgers, the Boilermakers allowed 16 rebounds to Penn State.
Garner went 4 for 5 from 3-point range, including a four-point play, to carry Penn State in the first half.
A trip to the Big Ten title game was on the line. The Wolverines and Boilermakers dueled twice this year, twice producing stellar games and twice producing Purdue wins.