Wisconsins Outlasts Michigan State to Advance to BTT Final
March 15, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Wisconsin won't cry foul over this win.
Brian Butch scored 19, Marcus Landry added 18 and Joe Krabbenhoft had a double-double Saturday, and No. 8 Wisconsin held off a foul-challenged Michigan State 65-63 to earn a spot in the Big Ten title game. It's the second straight year the Badgers (28-4) will play for the Big Ten tournament title, and the fourth time in five years.
Wisconsin will play either Illinois or Minnesota, both of which need to win the title to get an NCAA bid.
Drew Neitzel led all scorers with 26, his second big day in a row, and freshman Kalin Lucas had 18. But it wasn't nearly enough to bail out the No. 19 Spartans (25-8) , who were whistled for 30 fouls and had four players foul out, including three in a 56-second span.
The fouls were one shy of the Big Ten tournament record, and more than double what the Spartans had in their lone game against Wisconsin this year.
Michigan State was in foul trouble from the start, averaging a foul a minute at one point in the first half. But even with coach Tom Izzo forced to cobble together lineups, Neitzel and Lucas managed to not only keep the Spartans in the game but in control of it.
Neitzel converted a three-point play, and Lucas sandwiched two jumpers around a free throw to give Michigan State a 63-61 lead with two minutes to play. But Landry made a pair of free throws that tied the game with 1:41 to play. Michigan tried to get the ball in Neitzel's hands after a timeout. But Michael Flowers, a member of the Big Ten's all-defensive team, read the freshman point guard perfectly, stepping in and grabbing the ball on its way from Lucas to Neitzel.
Flowers took it in for an easy layup, giving Wisconsin the 65-63 lead with 27 seconds left.
The Spartans were hoping to get the ball to Neitzel again, but the stingy Wisconsin defense gave them no shot. Lucas finally put up a layup, but it rattled off the rim and Butch grabbed the rebound. Jason Bohannon missed both free throws, giving Michigan State one last chance. But Neitzel's 3-pointer at the buzzer wasn't even close.
Wisconsin won despite going only 26-of-37 from the free throw line. Since Bo Ryan came to Wisconsin in 2001, the Badgers are 11-3 against Michigan State, including two wins this year.
Krabbenhoft had 11 points -- nine from the free throw line -- and 10 rebounds. It was his fourth double-double of the season.