Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thoughts on MSU's 65-52 win over Wisconsin

INDIANAPOLIS — So after Tom Izzo proclaimed following the Ohio State loss that MSU would head to Indianapolis looking to win its championship back, the Spartans are one win away from doing just that.

After a slow start, the Spartans blitzed the Badgers with a 37-7 run en route to a 65-52 win in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. It will be MSU's first appearance in the championship since 2000, when the Spartans won the tournament for the second straight year. In the final, they'll face either Michigan or Ohio State — meaning they will face one of the other regular season conference co-champions. MSU and U-M have never met in the tournament.

Wisconsin opened the game with a 20-9 lead, with Derrick Nix scoring the first seven for MSU. Then Austin Thornton went on a personal 9-0 run to reawaken the Spartans. It was part of a 37-7 run that put MSU up 46-27 early in the second half. MSU held the Badgers without a field goal for the final 10:12 of the first half and nearly two more minutes in the second. But just when MSU looked like it would pull away, Wisconsin went on a 13-0 run to cut it to six points.

That's when, surprise, MSU went to Green in the block, he drove, scored a layup and was fouled. That was the start of 11 straight MSU points that put the game away.

Green struggled with seven turnovers, but scored 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.

Travis Trice's presence continued to be huge. Appling was able to get rest throughout the game and finished with 13 points, five assists and one turnover. He made his first three shots, putting him at 6-for-6 for the tournament, before missing his last two. Appling looks as fast and as calm as ever, and he's even hit two three-pointers in Indy. Trice's availability has been a big reason for that.

Stories will probably be coming late because I'm covering both MSU and U-M.

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