No. 2/1 Michigan State Beats Wisconsin, 68-63, to Claim Big Ten Regular Season Title
Madison, Wis. - Sophomore guard Cassius Winston scored 20 points and led four players in double figures as No. 2/1 Michigan State used a late second half rally to pull away from Wisconsin for a 68-63 win at the Kohl Center. The win clinches the outright Big Ten Regular Season tile for the Spartans.
It was the 12th win in a row for Michigan State, closing out the regular season with a 28-3 overall record and a 16-2 mark in league play, while Wisconsin falls to 14-18 overall and 7-11 in the league.
Michigan State led by seven points, 34-27, at the break, but Wisconsin worked back to tie the game at 36-all on a pair of free throws from Brad Davison with 14:16 to play.
The Badgers took a 47-45 lead on a layup from Ethan Happ (9:52) and were up 49-47 with 7:18 to play after a pair of free throws from Nate Reuvers.
MSU responded with an 11-2 run over 2:23 and took a 58-51 lead on a Winston 3-pointer with 4:45 left to play ... The sophomore guard hit three 3-pointers during the run.
The lead shrank to 58-56, but Bridges hit a jumper with 3:303 to play to make it 60-56 but MSU hit all eight free throw attempts - four by Jaren Jackson Jr. and four from Bridges - in the final 1:32 to seal the win.
Michigan State had jumped out to an 8-0 lead early in the game behind a pair of Ward baskets, biut Wisconsin worked back to tie the game at 11-all on a layup from Brevin Pritzl.
Leading by two points, 17-15, MSU went on a 9-2 run and took a 26-17 lead on a Winston 3-pointer with 7:21 to play.
Another Winston 3-pointer, this one at the 3:35 mark, gave MSU its biggest lead, 32-22, before going into the break up seven points, 34-27.
After scoring only two points in the first six minutes of the second half, MSU scored 32 in the final 14 minutes.
MSU hit all 10 of its free throw attempts in the second half, including eight in the final 1:35.
Winston connected on all six of his 3-point attempts.
MSU held a 40-28 advantage on the boards and collected 13 offensive rebounds.
Bridges scored eight of his 10 points in the final 6:15 of the game, including four free throws in the last minute.
Michigan State's 28 wins is the most in the regular season in program history.
This is Michigan State's first outright Big Ten Regular Season title since 2009.
The team's three losses are tied for the fewest in a regular season since the 2000-01 season, when MSU went 24-3.
This is the first time Michigan State has won 16 Big Ten Conference games.
MSU extended its win streak to 12 games with the win, the longest active win streak in Division I.
Cassius Winston scored in double figures for the 25th time this season and the 31st time in his career.
Winston is the second MSU player this season to hit at least six 3-pointers, joining junior guard Matt McQuaid, who did so against DePaul.
Sophomore forward Nick Ward scored 14 points (10 in the first half) and had six rebounds and two blocks ... It was his 20th game in double figure scoring this year.
Miles Bridges scored in double figures for the 26th time this season and the 50th time in his career. Freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 11 points with six rebounds, two blocks and two steals ... It was his 22nd game scoring in double figures.
Jackson's two blocks give him 102 for the season, extending his school record.
Michigan State is off until Friday, March 2 when the team plays in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Spartans, the No. 1 seed, will meet the winner of a matchup between No. 8 seed Maryland and No. 9 seed Northwestern on Friday, March 2 at noon.