Top 25 roundup: Michigan State, Purdue reach Big Ten final
INDIANAPOLIS -- Denzel Valentine scored 18 points, including four pressure-packed free throws during the final 21.6 seconds, and No. 2 Michigan State held off No. 18 Maryland 64-61 on Saturday in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
The second-seeded Spartans (28-5), who have won 12 of their last 13, will play 13th-ranked and fourth-seeded Purdue in Sunday's championship game.
Valentine, who had seven rebounds and 10 assists, made two free throws with 21.6 seconds to play for a 62-59 lead, but Maryland's Melo Trimble countered with a layup with 14.5 seconds left, cutting the margin to 62-61.
Valentine missed the front end of a one-and-one with 10.2 seconds to play, but Trimble missed a shot, Valentine rebounded with 0.8 of a second left and sank two game-clinching free throws.
Maryland (25-8) made only one field goal during the final 10:23 and scored only four points in the final 6:54. Robert Carter led Maryland with 18 points.
No. 13 Purdue 76, Michigan 59
INDIANAPOLIS -- Purdue got 27 points and 11 rebounds from center A.J. Hammons, and the fourth-seeded Boilermakers pulled away from No. 8 seed Michigan in a Big Ten tournament semifinal.
Michigan got to within 60-54 with 7:35 to play on a Derrick Walton Jr. three-point play, but Hammons scored the next five points to push the Purdue lead to 65-54 with 4:38 remaining. Purdue (26-7) limited Michigan (22-12) to five points in the final 7:34.
No. 16 Kentucky 93, Georgia 80
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kentucky will play for its 29th Southeastern Conference Tournament championship after the Wildcats defeated Georgia in the semifinals.
No. 2 seed Kentucky (25-8) faces No. 1 seed Texas A&M (26-7) on Sunday.
Kentucky, which owns more SEC titles than all the conference teams combined, trailed throughout much of the game thanks to Georgia's red-hot shooting and the Bulldogs' work on the offensive glass. It was not until 8:16 remained that Kentucky overtook Georgia 68-67 on a putback by guard Isaiah Briscoe.
Jamal Murray led five Kentucky players in double figures with 26 points. Tyler Ulis had 25 points and five assists. Georgia (19-13) was led by Yante Maten with 20 points.
No. 17 Texas A&M 71, LSU 38
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In a basketball week filled with drama, there was none in Texas A&M's demolition of LSU in a SEC tournament semifinal game.
Ben Simmons, LSU's freshman superstar, was held to 10 points. No other teammate scored more than six as the Tigers (19-14) shot a miserable 20.6 percent (13 of 63) from the floor.
Eleven players scored for the Aggies (26-7), led by center Tonny Trocha-Morelos with 13 points, as coach Billy Kennedy's reserves got more than ample playing time.
It soon became an Aggie dunk show. Trocha-Morelos threw one down with 13:50 left for a 46-19 advantage. Danuel House took a long pass from Alex Collins and dunked it 1:09 later. Tavario Miller added one with 11:20 left for a 51-21 lead.