The Michigan State Spartans will play the Purdue Boilermakers in Sunday's Big Ten tournament championship game after a 64-61 win over the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday.
The Spartans took a comfortable 41-33 lead into halftime thanks to balanced scoring, but the Terrapins pushed back in the second half, getting back into the game and leading for a couple of short stretches thanks primarily to stifling defense.
Michigan State answered with a series of big stops as the pressure mounted in the dying minutes. Point guard Denzel Valentine picked up a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists to go along with seven rebounds—including a crucial defensive board off a missed layup by Melo Trimble—to preserve the Spartans' one-point lead with a second left to play in regulation.
It was a tough day for Trimble, who finished just 2-of-15 from the field. Robert Carter was the offensive engine for Maryland with 18 points.
Michigan State will be playing in its third consecutive Big Ten title game. The Spartans beat Michigan for the championship in 2014 before falling in overtime to Wisconsin last season.
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