Winston leads Michigan State past Wisconsin in Big Ten semis
CHICAGO (AP) — Cassius Winston scored 21 points and Kenny Goins keyed Michigan State’s fast start, helping the sixth-ranked Spartans beat No. 19 Wisconsin 67-55 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Saturday.
Goins, Aaron Henry and Xavier Tillman also led a dominant rebounding effort as Michigan State earned its seventh consecutive win in its series against Wisconsin. Goins finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots, and Henry grabbed a career-high 11 boards.
Winston, the Big Ten Player of the Year, went 9 for 17 from the field and had six assists.
The Spartans (27-6) earned their ninth win in 10 games and will go for their sixth Big Ten tourney title on Sunday.
The Badgers (23-10) got off to a slow start and didn’t recover. Wisconsin star Ethan Happ bounced back nicely from a shaky performance in the quarterfinals against Nebraska, finishing with 20 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
NO. 22 AUBURN 65, FLORIDA 62
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jared Harper hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left as Auburn held off Florida to reach the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship for the first time since 2000.
Auburn (25-9) came in as the fifth-seeded team after sharing the SEC regular-season title a year ago. Now the Tigers will seek their second tournament championship and first since 1985.
Florida (19-15) may have needed one more upset after knocking off regular-season champ LSU in the quarterfinals to earn their at-large NCAA berth.
Harper finished with 20 points, and Bryce Brown scored all 11 in the second half.
Kevarrius Hayes and Jalen Hudson each had 16 points to lead Florida, which led 34-30 at halftime.