FINAL: Spartans hang on to advance to Big Ten Tournament championship

Sherman Parsons
March 20, 2019

Michigan State forward Kyle Ahrens injured his left ankle and was taken off the court on a stretcher Sunday, and his status was uncertain as the No. 6 Spartans headed to the NCAA Tournament.

The top-seeded Spartans (28-6) rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half and scored the final 10 points for their first championship since 2016. Cassius Winston followed with 14 points. Beilein is 19-11 in NCAA Tournament games, taking MI to the National Championship game in 2013 and 2018. Following the game, the 2019 NCAA Bracket was revealed and both the Wolverines and the Spartans were given No. 2 seeds.

Last year, Michigan had the upper hand in the rivalry, but this season, Michigan State has thoroughly flummoxed Michigan in the second halves of two separate games.

The Wolverines beat Montana past year on the way to the national championship game.

PASSING FOR POINTS: The Spartans have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Wolverines. But the Big Ten Player of the Year stayed in the game and showed no signs of trouble.

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Hopefully, however, the matchup will be less of a slugfest than the last time these teams met. MI won as a three-seed, but did so in an unimpressive fashion. "We can get right back to playing". "Beating them three's hard to do".

In a lot of ways, this bracket feels very similar to the one that MI basketball won last season in order to reach the Final Four.

The Wolverines were up 60-55 after Livers hit a 3 with 2:29 left, but they didn't score again. Teske and Tillman went up for the rebound, the ball got knocked out of bounds and the referees gave possession to Michigan State after a review as Michigan coach John Beilein screamed on the sideline.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Jarron Cumberland had 33 points and eight rebounds to lead Cincinnati past Houston, 69-57, in the American Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.

The Spartans start the NCAA Tournament on Thursday against Bradley.

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