MSU loses heartbreaker to Badgers

Spartans see an 11-point lead evaporate and turn into an 11-point overtime loss

Michigan State had the best team in the Big Ten on the ropes in the second half.

But an 11-point lead turned to an 11-point loss against Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon, as the Spartans fell 80-69 in overtime in the Big Ten Tournament title game.

With 7:46 to go, Michigan State held an 11-point lead on the Badgers – the largest deficit faced by Wisconsin all season. The Badgers came storming back, though, as Bronson Koenig fueled a 12-0 run to give Wisconsin a 60-59 lead.

Teaming with Big Ten player of the year Frank Kaminsky, who had nine points in the final seven minutes before overtime, Koenig had 16 of his 17 points in the final 10 minutes of regulation and overtime.

Michigan State led by one, 32-31, at halftime, before Wisconsin went on a quick 7-0 run early in the second half. Then Michigan State broke the game open in its favor behind 9 of 11 shooting to open the second half.

Denzel Valentine, who had 16 points, scored eight straight for Michigan State to put MSU ahead 50-43. A behind-the-back pass under from the hoop from Matt Costello to Marvin Clark for a layup kept the run going, followed by Bryn Forbes hitting three free throws and a big dunk by Branden Dawson – who also had 16 points – gave MSU the 57-46 lead.

Then the Wisconsin comeback began, as Koenig’s 3-pointer with 4:19 left put Wisconsin ahead on the back of a 12-0 run.

Tum Tum Nairn answered back with a 3-pointer to return the lead to Michigan State, as the teams traded buckets. Kaminsky buried a 3-pointer with 1:44 left to put Wisconsin ahead 67-64, but Valentine answered at the other end with a 3-pointer, crossing over Kaminsky to get the open look.

Travis Trice hit a floater off the glass with 50 seconds left to give Michigan State the 69-67 lead. It looked like MSU was set to wrap the game up after Valentine skied to grab a loose ball saved by Wisconsin’s Josh Gasser, but he threw a quick outlet pass at the Badgers’ Sam Dekker.

Nairn fouled Koenig, who made both shots to tie the game 69-69.

Michigan State got the final shot of the game, but Dawson’s jumper rimmed out.

Nigel Hayes and Koenig hit a pair of 3-pointers in overtime and Wisconsin shut out the Spartans 11-0 to roll away.

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