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3 finish tied atop Big Ten

Michigan State’s Keith Appling tries to outrace Ohio State’s William Buford for the ball during the first half.

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Michigan State’s Keith Appling tries to outrace Ohio State’s William Buford for the ball during the first half.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — 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 one 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 he missed a long fadeaway from the right wing. Just before the buzzer, Green had a heave that missed the mark.

Buford's 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 and forced the Spartans (24-7, 13-5) to settle for a piece of it.

Michigan, which won its first Big Ten title since 1986, watched its rivals play from the school's basketball facility in Ann Arbor after winning at Penn State earlier.

"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 had a 15-point lead 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.

Michigan State also lost standout freshman Branden Dawson for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

NO. 13 MICHIGAN 71, PENN ST. 65: Trey Burke scored 19 for the visiting Wolverines (23-8, 13-5), who shot 59 percent from the field.

NO. 14 WISCONSIN 70, ILLINOIS 56: Senior Jordan Taylor scored 16 in his final home game for the Badgers (23-8, 12-6 Big Ten), who have won three straight.

NO. 18 INDIANA 85, PURDUE 74: Christian Watford scored 19 for the Hoosiers (24-7, 11-7 Big Ten), who finished the regular season with an 18-1 home record.

NO. 24 UVA 75, MARYLAND 72, OT: Playing in his final regular-season game, Mike Scott had a career-high 35 points and added 11 rebounds for the visiting Cavaliers (22-8, 9-7), who finished fourth in the ACC and will receive a first-round bye in the conference tournament.

NO. 25 CREIGHTON 83, ILLINOIS ST. 79: Doug McDermott had 33 points and Antoine Young scored eight of his 14 in overtime as the Bluejays (28-5) won the Missouri Valley Conference championship game in St. Louis.

SSC TOURNAMENT: Seth Evans and Kevin Capers hit 3-pointers in the final 1:37 as fifth-seeded Florida Southern (20-9) beat third-seeded Saint Leo (18-11) 61-58 in the title game in Lakeland. Both Saint Leo and Eckerd earned at-large bids to the Division II NCAA Tournament and open play Saturday.

RHODE ISLAND: Coach Jim Baron was fired after 11 years and a 7-24 season.


NCAA bids

Belmont Atlantic Sun

Creighton Missouri Valley

Murray State Ohio Valley

UNC Asheville Big South

3 finish tied atop Big Ten 03/04/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 4, 2012 11:47pm]
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