Win­ston leads Michi­gan State past Michi­gan for Big Ten ti­tle

Layup in fi­nal minute pro­pels Spar­tans

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS -

Cas­sius Win­ston’s driv­ing layup with 29.1 sec­onds left Sun­day snapped a tie and lifted No. 6 Michi­gan State to a 65-60 vic­tory over No. 10 Michi­gan for the Big 10 Con­fer­ence tour­na­ment ti­tle at the United Cen­ter in Chicago.

It was the third vic­tory over the Wolver­ines by the Spar­tans (28-6), who will take plenty of mo­men­tum into the up­com­ing NCAA Tour­na­ment. Michi­gan also fin­ished 28-6 de­spite its strug­gles with its in-state ri­val.

Win­ston fin­ished with 14 points and 11 as­sists de­spite a sprained an­kle in Satur­day’s semi­fi­nal. But the game’s lead­ing scorer was se­nior Matt Mc­Quaid, who, in his 135th game, pumped in a ca­reer-high 27 points, go­ing 7 of 13 on 3-point­ers.

Ig­nas Brazdeikis scored 19 points for the Wolver­ines, but his shot to tie the game in the last 20 sec­onds was blocked by Aaron Henry. Jor­dan Poole added 13 and Jon Teske chipped in 10 points and 10 re­bounds.

Henry made a free throw with 12.8 sec­onds left to put Michi­gan State up 63-60. Poole tossed an air ball on a 3-pointer, and free throws by Kenny Goins with 2.3 sec­onds re­main­ing capped a game-end­ing 10-0 run.

The first 10 min­utes took a heav­ily de­fen­sive bent, as could have been ex­pected of fa­mil­iar ri­vals play­ing for the third time in 22 days. The score was 7-7 more than 6 1/2 min­utes into the game be­fore Michi­gan State fi­nally found a bit of trac­tion.

A 3-pointer by Win­ston with 9:59 left in the half put the Spar­tans ahead 17-11. But the Wolver­ines ral­lied by ex­ploit­ing the 7-foot-1 Teske, nor­mally a pick-and-pop guy of­fen­sively, in­side against smaller foes. He scored six points dur­ing a 17-3 run that gave them a 28-20 ad­van­tage at the 2:46 mark.

Auburn cap­tures SEC

Bryce Brown scored 19 points and Chuma Okeke added 18 points and 13 re­bounds to lift No. 22 Auburn to an 84-64 vic­tory over No. 8 Ten­nessee in the SEC tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship game in Nashville, Tenn.

Okeke made four 3-point­ers dur­ing a de­ci­sive 25-11 run to open the sec­ond half, ex­tend­ing the Tigers’ lead to 57-34.

Ten­nessee (29-5) could not get closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

It was the first SEC tour­ney ti­tle for Auburn (26-9) since 1985, as the Tigers be­came the first team to win the tour­na­ment with four vic­to­ries in four days. Auburn pre­vi­ously de­feated Mis­souri, South Carolina and Florida.

Auburn missed 11 of its first 13 3-point­ers and trailed 15-11 eight min­utes into the game. The Tigers also got into early foul trou­ble three min­utes into the game when Jared Harper, their sec­ond-lead­ing scorer, went to bench with two fouls.

But de­spite those chal­lenges, Auburn took a 19-18 lead on the strength of its bench, which scored nine of the Tigers’ first 19 points, and its sticky de­fense. With re­serve J’Von McCormick and Brown each bury­ing 3-point­ers to snap the Tigers’ perime­ter-shoot­ing woes, Auburn put to­gether a 20-3 run and led 31-18.

Cincin­nati takes AAC

Jar­ron Cum­ber­land proved more than wor­thy of be­ing named the Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence MVP, scor­ing 33 points to lead No. 24 Cincin­nati to a 69-57 up­set vic­tory over No. 11 Hous­ton in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game at Mem­phis.

Cum­ber­land scored 15 of Cincin­nati’s first 17 points of the sec­ond half, fin­ish­ing 11-for-24 from the floor and 10for-13 from the free throw line. His 33 points were an AAC ti­tle game record. He also pulled down eight re­bounds.

The sec­ond-seeded Bearcats (28-6) notched their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive AAC tour­na­ment ti­tle, de­feat­ing Hous­ton both times.

The top-seeded Cougars (31-3) were un­able to de­feat Cincin­nati for the third time this sea­son.

Yale wins Ivy League ti­tle

Alex Copeland scored a sea­son­high 25 points as Yale de­feated ri­val Har­vard 97-85 in New Haven, Conn., to claim the Ivy League cham­pi­onship and an au­to­matic berth in the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

Copeland was 9 of 14 from the field and added seven as­sists as the bal­anced Bull­dogs (22-7) earned their first NCAA bid since 2016.

Miye Oni added 17 points, Azar Swain scored 15 and Blake Reynolds had 14. Bryce Aiken kept Har­vard (1811) in the game with 38 points.

Ge­or­gia State nabs Sun Belt

Ma­lik Ben­levi scored 16 points and had 11 re­bounds to lead a bal­anced at­tack as top-seeded Ge­or­gia State ral­lied from an early eight-point deficit to earn a 73-64 vic­tory over sec­ond­seeded UT Ar­ling­ton in the Sun Belt Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game at New Or­leans.

Damon Wilson scored 13 points and Kane Wil­liams added 12 as all five starters for Ge­orge State (24-9) scored in double fig­ures.

Edric Den­nis scored 12 points off the bench for UT Ar­ling­ton (17-16).

Tech’s Robin­son to re­turn

Vir­ginia Tech point guard Justin Robin­son will re­join the 16th-ranked Hok­ies for the NCAA Tour­na­ment after miss­ing their past 12 games with a left foot in­jury. Coach Buzz Wil­liams con­firmed the news Sun­day with a two-word tweet: “He’s back.”

Robin­son, a four-year starter, is av­er­ag­ing 13.7 points, 5.2 as­sists and 1.6 steals and shoot­ing 41.1 per­cent from 3-point range, but he hasn’t played since suf­fer­ing the in­jury on Jan. 30 at Mi­ami.

Getty Im­ages

Michi­gan State guard Cas­sius Win­ston drib­bles the ball while be­ing guarded by Michi­gan’s Jon Teske dur­ing the Big Ten Tour­na­ment on Sun­day. Win­ston scored 14 points and had 11 as­sists for the Spar­tans.

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