Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 14, 2015
CHICAGO — It didn't look good early, but Michigan State rallied from a 16-point deficit to dispatch Maryland, 62-58, in the second Big Ten tournament semifinal Saturday afternoon.
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The third-seeded Spartans, who were swept by No. 2-seed Maryland in the regular season, advance to the Big Ten tourney finals vs. No. 1-seed Wisconsin on Sunday.
Get BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart's reaction to Michigan State's win below.
Top star: Michigan State?s Travis Trice was the catalyst, scoring a team-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He hit three 3-pointers and had three rebounds, four assists and a steal. It?s off to play No. 1 Wisconsin in the title game on Sunday. This is the third time in four years that the Spartans have been in the championship game. MSU has won four Big Ten tourney titles, going 4-0 in the event with crowns in 1999, 2000, 2012 and 2014.
Top stat: 16, points Maryland led by midway through the first half. It was Maryland's biggest lead (23-7) of the game, and, from there, the Spartans outscored the Terrapins, 55-35.
Top stat line: Branden Dawson was a beast, impacting in all aspects of the game. He had 17 points, eight rebounds and a block in another strong all-around effort in an event he won the MVP award in last season in leading MSU to the title.
Top dunk: Marvin Clark Jr. soared in from the left and threw down a monster one-handed jam with his left hand that raised the roof on the United Center.
It was over when: The clincher came with Michigan State leading 53-50 with under three minutes to play. That?s when the Spartans got out on the break with Gavin Schilling zeroing in on a dunk. But he was fouled intentionally by Evan Smotrycz. He hit one free throw, then on the next possession, Branden Dawson stuffed an alley-opp dunk to make it 56-50, Spartans. After another Maryland miss, MSU hit 1 of 2 free throws to take a 57-50 edge with 1:30 remaining. The Spartans hung on from there.
Did you see this? I present to you the halftime entertainment!
Notable: The Spartans are 4-0 all-time in Big Ten tourney finals, winning the event in 1999, 2000, 2012 and 2014. Tom Izzo?s crew has won 11 of its last 13 games. The Terrapins entered the game 11-0 in games decided by six points or fewer, so this was their first loss in said situation. The Spartans hit 13-of-20 free throws, good enough for 65 percent, a slight improvement over their season average (62.7%). Melo Trimble hit his first five shots but went to finish 7-of-16. Matt Costello scored 10 big points off the bench, just his second double-digit output in the last 11 games.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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