Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 13, 2016
So that's another year, another Big Ten title for Michigan State. That?s two in three years and three in five for the Spartans, who continue to reign supreme in the Big Ten. And this win today should lock up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney for Michigan State. The No. 2 Spartans dispatched the Boilermakers, 66-62, thanks to their suffocating defense and a big dose of Denzel Valentine. MSU also didn?t allow A.J. Hammons to get comfortable on the blocks.
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With little production in the paint, the Boilermaker guards were unable to deliver with their shot or off the dribble ? except for Vince Edwards. But it wasn?t enough. Meanwhile, baskets came easy for the Spartans, who outhustled Purdue down court and often had free looks at the hoop for easy baskets. The Spartans are a deep, physical and talented team that will be tough to beat in the Big Dance, as they enter the NCAA tourney winners of nine in a row and 13 of 14.
Top star: Who else but Denzel? Yes, he can just go by his first name. He?s that big of a star. He hit 6-of-13 shots with 10 rebounds and nine assists to go with 15 points. Late in the game when Purdue had cut the Spartans? lead to one point, it was Valentine who delivered a clutch double-pump shot to push MSU?s lead back three. Such a money player.
Top stat line: Tip of the hat to Vince Edwards. He hit 6-of-18 shots and seven-of-eight from the line en route to tallying a game-high 19 points.
Top stat: 41, Michigan State?s rebounds compared to 31 for Purdue. This was just the second time all season that the Boilers had been outrebounded. MSU also limited Purdue 38 percent shooting and 20 percent from 3-point range. A.J. Hammons had just 11 points after notching 27 the last time out.
Top dunk: It was a beaut. Purdue had cut Michigan State?s lead to 46-31 with 13 minutes to guy. Denzel Valentine drove to the hoop, lost the ball and his balance ? picked up the loose ball and flung it toward the rim, where Deyonta Davis slammed it home.
It was over when: At one point, Michigan State had a 13-point lead in the second half and looked primed to run away with the game. But Purdue battled back. It never was able to take a lead in the second half, but it had a chance with less than a minute to go. MSU led, 64-62, and Purdue charged down court. That?s when Caleb Swanigan launched an ill-advised 3-pointer that missed that looked like an errant missile. Then, after the Spartans missed the front end of a one-and-one, Purdue had another chance. This time, Johnny Hill muffed a layup. Why not let A.J. Hammons or Vince Edwards take a shot?
Top moment: Cheers rained from the ceiling of Banker?s Life Field House to celebrate Michigan State?s championship. It?s always a fun sight to see teams celebrate a title.
- Purdue last won the Big Ten tourney title in 2009. This was the school?s third appearance in the championship game.
- Purdue won the lone meeting of the season between these schools, taking a one-point decision in overtime in Mackey Arena.
- This was Michigan State?s third trip to the league game in a row and fourth in five years. The Spartans have won five Big Ten tourney titles and played in six championship tilts. MSU lost last year?s title game in OT to Wisconsin.
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