INDIANAPOLIS – Adreian Payne scored 18 points, Branden Dawson had 14 and No. 22 Michigan State beat No. 12 Wisconsin 83-75 on Saturday to reach the Big Ten tournament championship.
The third-seeded Spartans (25-8) won consecutive games for the first time since winning 11 straight in a stretch over December and January. They will face No. 8 Michigan in the final on Sunday.
The Spartans went on a 16-1 run in the first half and took a 37-16 lead when Gary Harris scored with 5:39 left before halftime.
Frank Kaminsky had 28 points and Sam Dekker added 11 points and seven rebounds for the second-seeded Badgers (26-7), who were outrebounded 32-28 by the Spartans. Michigan State also shot 56 percent in an impressive performance against defense-minded Wisconsin.
Michigan State was swept by Michigan during the regular season, but it has a perfect record in conference title games. The Spartans’ last championship came in a win over Ohio State in 2012.
The first half against Wisconsin was one of the best periods Michigan State has played all season.
Traevon Jackson’s layup helped Wisconsin close to 21-15 with 10:43 left in the first half, but the Spartans responded with a 16-1 run that including three three-point plays.
Payne scored and Denzel Valentine hit a 3-pointer to give the Spartans a 26-15 lead. Then Dawson was fouled on a layup and made the ensuing foul shot.
Bronson Koening made a free throw for the Badgers before Payne and Travis Trice had consecutive three-point plays. Trice then forced a turnover and Harris scored on a fast-break layup to increase the lead to 21 with 5:39 left in the first half.
Wisconsin trailed 43-26 at the break, but it rallied in the second half. Dekker’s dunk capped an 8-2 spurt that trimmed Michigan State’s lead to 51-41 with 15:02 remaining.
The Badgers got within seven when Jackson made a pair of free throws with under four minutes to play and again when Jackson hit a 3 with 51 seconds remaining. But the rally fizzled from there.
Jackson finished with 10 points for Wisconsin, which shot 28 percent in the first half. The Badgers have dropped two of their last three games.