Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 12, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS — No. 2 Michigan State will take on No. 4 Purdue in the Big Ten tourney title game Sunday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
[ MORE: View our Big Ten tournament central page ]
The teams met just one time this season, with the Boilermakers taking a one-point decision in overtime at Mackey Arena.
This will be MSU?s third straight trip to the title game and fourth in five years. It last won it in 2014. If the Spartans win the championship, they would seem to have a good chance to be a No. 1 seed.
Maryland figures to be a No. 4 or No. 5 seed in the NCAA tourney.
Top star: Denzel Valentine had another All-American-type game, scoring 18 points with 10 assists and seven rebounds. He also was 8-of-9 from the free-throw line, hitting some big ones late in the game.
Top stat line: Valentine was stupendous, showing his all-around versatility that has become his signature. The senior hit just 4-of-12 shots and missed a big free throw late, but he still tallied his 10th double-double of the season. And came close to a triple double.
Top stat: 93.3, Michigan State?s free-throw percentage, as it hit 14-of-15 attempts. The only miss was a big one, as Denzel Valentine clanked one late that gave Maryland a chance to win. Still, the Spartans? shooting from the charity stripe was huge in what was just a three-point win.
Top dunk: It happened on Michigan State?s first hoop of the game, as Denzel Valentine lofted an alley-oop pass to Deyonta Davis for a thunderous jam.
It was over when: Maryland had the ball and was trailing by a point with less than a minute to go. The Terps could sense the kill, as Diamond Stone backed down Deyonta Davis in the paint. Stone rose for the shot, only to have it rejected by Davis. It was a great showdown between two of the Big Ten?s top freshmen. The Terps got the ball back later down one point with a chance to win the game in the dying seconds, but Melo Trimble?s drive to the hoop failed and the Spartans grabbed the rebound.
Did you see that? Less than two minutes into the game, Eron Harris and Jake Layman tussled, which resulted in a technical foul on both players. Tom Izzo was livid with Harris, grabbing him and pulling him to the bench. Izzo talked after their quarterfinal win about how he needed Harris to be a bit more focused after doing things out of character against Ohio State. While Harris was removed from the game, Layman remained in.
- Michigan State has won eight in a row and 12 of their last 13 games. The last loss? A one-point defeat at Purdue.
- Maryland is the only team in the Big Ten with five players averaging double-figures.
- 0, 3-pointers for Michigan State?s Bryn Forbes, the nation?s top marksman from beyond the arc.
- Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was T-d up late in the first half after vociferously voicing his displeasure with the fact no foul was called when Rasheed Sulaimon drove to the basket.
- In the only other meeting this year, Michigan State beat Maryland, 74-65, in East Lansing. The Spartans beat the Terrapins in the Big Ten tourney semifinals last year, 62-58.
- Tom Izzo is 99-42 (.700) in March. From 2009 to today, Izzo is 46-15 (.750) in March.
- Maryland is 3-6 in its last nine games.
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