Buckeyes, Spartans, Wolverines share Big Ten regular-season title

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Associated Press
Monday, March 5, 2012
— Ohio State’s only senior ended Michigan State’s regular season on a sour note.

William Buford made a high-arcing jumper from the top of the key with 1 second left, lifting the 10th-ranked Buckeyes to a 72-70 win over the fifth-ranked Spartans on Sunday to forge a three-way tie for the Big Ten championship.

“I was fortunate to knock down the big shot of the night to give us another Big Ten title,” Buford said.

Draymond Green had a chance to put the Spartans ahead in his final home game with 32 seconds left, but missed a long fadeaway from the right wing. Just before the buzzer, Green had a heave that missed the mark.

Buford’s game-winning shot made a once-raucous arena nearly silent and gave a group of people elsewhere in the state a reason to shout with joy.

The Buckeyes (25-6, 13-5) earned a share of their third straight conference championship—and fifth in seven years. They also forced the Spartans (24-7, 13-5) to settle for just a piece of it and ended a quarter-century drought for No. 13 Michigan.

The Wolverines, who won their first Big Ten title since 1986, watched their rivals play from the school’s basketball facility in Ann Arbor after winning at Penn State earlier in the day.

“It was silent the whole time (Buford’s shot) was in the air,” said Michigan guard Trey Burke, who is from Columbus, Ohio. “Once it went in, everybody just flooded the hallway, jumping up and down.”

Michigan State will be the top-seeded team in the Big Ten tournament, which begins Thursday in Indianapolis. Michigan will be No. 2 and Ohio State No. 3.

Michigan State jumped out to a 15-point lead over Ohio State in the first half, but let the advantage slip away just as it did with a two-game lead in the Big Ten race with two games left in the regular season.

“No excuses,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said, looking and sounding somber. “We just didn’t get it done.”

The Buckeyes seized an opportunity created when the Spartans had a seven-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night at Indiana.

“Luckily enough the Big Ten’s one of the toughest conferences in the country and it gave us a chance to get a hat and get a shirt,” Jared Sullinger said.

Sullinger had 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting, and Deshaun Thomas scored nine of his 12 points in the second half for the Buckeyes.

Green finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and a game-high four turnovers for the Spartans, while Brandon Wood scored 15 points and Derrick Nix had 11 off the bench.

-- (13) Michigan 71, Penn State 65—At State College, Pa., Trey Burke scored 19 points and Michigan shot 59 percent from the field to earn a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1986.

Evan Smotrycz added 17 points for the Wolverines

(23-8, 13-5), who needed Ohio State to beat Michigan State later Sunday.

Jermaine Marshall had a career-high 27 points and eight rebounds for Penn State (12-19, 4-14), and Ross Travis added 15 points.

-- (18) Indiana 85, Purdue 74—At Bloomington, Ind., Christian Watford scored 19 points and Will Sheehey added 16, leading Indiana over rival Purdue on Senior Day.

The Hoosiers (24-7, 11-7 Big Ten) finished the season with an 18-1 home record, five wins over ranked teams and three against clubs ranked in the top five. Indiana also swept Purdue for the first time since 2005-06.

Purdue (20-11, 10-8) was trying to win its third straight in Bloomington for the first time since 1968-71, but it fell behind early and never caught up. Lewis Jackson had 17 points, and Robbie Hummel added 16 for the Boilermakers, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Last updated: 2:24 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

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