Winston leads Michigan State past Michigan for Big Ten title
Layup in final minute propels Spartans
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.
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.