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No. 6 Wisconsin rallies, shuts out Michigan State in OT

CHICAGO -- Bronson Koenig thought a game like this was exactly what No. 6 Wisconsin needed.

The Big Ten tournament championship seemed to be slipping away and, with it, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Then, in a flash, the Badgers put a stop to that.

Nigel Hayes scored 25 points, Frank Kaminsky added 19, and Wisconsin outscored Michigan State 11-0 in overtime Sunday for an 80-69 victory in the Big Ten tournament championship game.

Koenig scored 18 points, and the Badgers (31-3) rallied from 11 points down in the second half.

"I thought it was really good for us to have a game like this where we were behind with seven minutes left," Koenig said. "They kind of thought they had us when we were down 11, but I just kept telling our guys you keep fighting, never give up, and that's what we did. And luckily, we were fortunate enough and came out with a win."

The big comeback gave Wisconsin its third Big Ten tournament title, and the NCAA selection committee rewarded the Badgers with their first No. 1 seed, giving them the top spot in the West. They will face Coastal Carolina on Friday.

The Badgers come in with a program record-tying 31 wins and their eyes on another big run after reaching the Final Four last year.

"Being the first 1-seed in the history of Wisconsin, being on a team that set a record here, it'll live on forever," Josh Gasser said. "That's special. We've got to take advantage of it now."

Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine scored 16 points each for Michigan State (23-11).

"I thought we played one of the greatest games we've played through 32, 35, 36 minutes," coach Tom Izzo said. "And then we made a couple of mistakes and they made a couple of great shots. That's the way the game goes."

The Spartans were outscored 31-10 over the final 11½ minutes of the game and came up short after winning the tournament last year. The Spartans wound up with the seventh seed in the East and a round-of-64 matchup with Georgia on Friday. If they win that, they could face Virginia in the round of 32.

"Yeah, it feels bad to lose, but we're happy with where we're at right now going into the tournament," said Travis Trice, who scored six points.

In the first overtime in a Big Ten title game, Hayes and Koenig hit 3-pointers in the first three minutes to give the Badgers a 75-69 lead. Michigan State missed all six shots and committed two turnovers in the extra period.

All that came after a wild finish in regulation.

Michigan State led 57-46 after going on a 17-5 run midway through the second half, only to have Wisconsin come back. The Badgers scored 11 straight in a two-minute stretch and grabbed a 60-59 lead on Koenig's 3-pointer with 4:16 left.

The Spartans were up by two before Kaminsky -- the tournament's Most Outstanding Player -- scooped in a shot from the left block and hit a 3-pointer from NBA range to give Wisconsin a 67-64 lead with 1:44 left.

Valentine than quieted the Badgers fans with a tying 3 over Kaminsky, and Trice drove down the right side for an off-balance floater to put Michigan State ahead 69-67 with 45 seconds remaining.

Koenig missed a 3 off the dribble after a timeout, and the Badgers' Gasser, trying to make a save in the corner, threw the ball to Valentine. Dekker then stole a bad pass from him, and Koenig hit two free throws to tie the game at 69-all with 15 seconds remaining.

The game went to overtime after Dawson missed a 15-footer from the right side as time expired.

"We're a resilient bunch," the Badgers' Duje Dukan said. "We've been down in this tournament twice already in the last two games. We didn't panic."

TIMEOUT EXPLANATION

Izzo called a timeout with four seconds left in overtime and the game out of reach. Why? He wanted his players to soak in the celebrating by Wisconsin and its fans.

"He made us look around, look around the gym, and he wanted us to look at that and remember that feeling," Trice said. "Take that all in. That way we don't want to feel that feeling again. It was the perfect thing to do."

TIP-INS

Michigan State: The Spartans are 4-1 in Big Ten finals.

Wisconsin: The Badgers are 16-2 away from home this season.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: Plays Georgia in the NCAA tournament Friday.

Wisconsin: Plays Coastal Carolina NCAA tournament Friday.

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