NEW YORK (AP) – Cassius Winston hit a go-ahead jumper with 7:17 to play and No. 2 Michigan State won its 13th straight game Friday, beating Wisconsin 63-60 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Miles Bridges led the Spartans (29-3) with 20 points and Winston finished with 17 in advancing to the semifinals Saturday against the winner of the game between No. 15 Michigan and Nebraska.
This was Michigan State’s third win over Wisconsin (15-18) this season, and the last two have been tough.
The ninth-seeded Badgers, who had won five of their last seven games, had a chance to tie the game in the waning seconds but the Spartans played tough defense and Brad Davison’s long, contested 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key never hit the rim.
Wisconsin also hurt its chances with its free throws. Khalil Iverson missed a chance to finish off a three-point play with under three minutes to play and his team down 60-58. He missed a 1-and-1 seconds later. Ethan Happ, who had 22 points, also missed a 1-and-1 with 1:51 to go and the Badgers still down two points.
Matt McQuaid pushed the lead to 63-58 with a 3-pointer with 1:28 to go. A layup by Davison got the gap to two points and Wisconsin had a chance to tie when Bridges missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 27 seconds to play.
Winston’s jumper gave the Spartans a 53-51 lead, and conference freshman of the year Jaren Jackson Jr., who was in foul trouble all game, converted a three-point play to push the lead to 56-51. McQuaid’s laup made it a seven-point game with five minutes to go.
Happ who was 10 of 15 from the field in dominating under the basket, made a layup and three-point play to cut it 58-56.
A rebound follow by Jackson and Iverson’s basket inside and missed free throw set up the tense final minutes.
The Spartans struggled to find a rhythm on offense in the first half. They rarely got into transition and didn’t get going until scoring the final eight points to lead 32-28. Bridges started the run with two free throws, added a 3-pointer in transition and then saw Winston close the half with another 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Wisconsin was called for 10 fouls in the half and Happ spent the final 7:46 on the bench with nine points after picking up his second.
Wisconsin: Next season.
Michigan State: Faces winner of Michigan-Nebraska game in semifinals on Saturday.