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Spartans share Big Ten title, set sights higher

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Tom Izzo had just become the sixth coach with at least six Big Ten championships, and he didn't even realize it.

"Really? That's the one thing I don't keep track of," Izzo said after No. 11 Michigan State beat Michigan 64-48 Sunday to finish the regular season in a three-way tie. "I keep track of national championships, and I want more of those."

If Raymar Morgan can maintain his momentum, the Spartans will have a shot to give Izzo his second national title and the school its third.

Morgan had 13 of his season-high 22 points in the first half, helping Michigan State build an 18-point lead that it used to cruise past its overmatched rival.

The senior forward, whose career has been marked by inconsistency, averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds over the last four games.

"If he plays like he's been playing lately, the sky is the limit for us and we can get back to the Final Four," teammate Kalin Lucas said.

Michigan State has advanced to the Final Four a nation-best five times in the previous 11 NCAA tournaments.

The Spartans (24-7, 14-4) shared the conference championship with Ohio State and Purdue. They will be seeded third at the Big Ten tournament behind the top-seeded Buckeyes and Boilermakers.

NO. 15 WISC. 72, ILLINOIS 57: Jordan Taylor and John Leuer had 20 points each as the visiting Badgers (23-7, 13-5) dealt a blow to the Fighting Illini's NCAA Tournament hopes.

NO. 18 GONZAGA 77, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 62: Steven Gray had 18 points for the Bulldogs (26-5), who advanced to the West Coast Conference tournament final in Las Vegas.

NO. 5 KANSAS ST.: Hours after being named AP Big 12 coach of the year, Frank Martin agreed to an extension through 2014-15 that will boost his annual salary to more than $1.5 million.

Conference finals

MISSOURI VALLEY: Kwadzo Ahelegbe had 24 points and top-seeded Northern Iowa (28-4) used a dominating defensive second half to beat Wichita State 67-52 in St. Louis for its second straight conference title.

SUNSHINE STATE: Myk Brown had 16 points as second-seeded Rollins (25-5) beat fifth-seeded Barry 66-59 in Fort Lauderdale.

Spartans share Big Ten title, set sights higher 03/07/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 7, 2010 11:05pm]
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