INDIANAPOLIS – Draymond Green didn’t let go of his dis-appointment from Michigan State’s loss last Sunday to Ohio State. Instead, he used it as motivation for the Big Ten tournament.
Green scored 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and Austin Thornton scored all 12 of his points on three-pointers Saturday to lead the No. 8 Spartans past No. 14 Wisconsin 65-52 and into their first Big Ten title game since 2000.
‘‘It’s just another opportunity for us,” Green said. ‘‘We had two chances to win the Big Ten outright, [and] we didn’t do it. You can’t really make up for it, but it’s an opportunity to feel better about it if we get this conference tournament championship. It’s just another way to leave that footprint, leave your legacy.”
After finishing the regular season with consecutive losses at Indiana and at home against the Buckeyes – defeats that might have cost Michigan State (26-7) a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament – the Spartans intend to take full advantage of a third opportunity to prove they are the best team in the conference. They will have a chance to do just that when they face Ohio State, which rolled past Michigan 77-55 in the other semifinal, for the Big Ten title Sunday.
‘‘You always want to set yourselves apart from everybody else, but when you get to this point of the season, one-and-done is the motivation,” Green said. ‘‘We’re trying to get another championship and hang another banner. We have to ratchet it up more.”
Green has had double-doubles in both of the Spartans’ tournament victories. He moved into second place on Michigan State’s career rebounding list with 1,046 and also had five assists and three blocked shots.
Badgers coach Bo Ryan praised Green’s play but said his team’s problems were mostly self-inflicted.
‘‘We didn’t do what we talked about in the scouting report as a unit, so we paid,” Ryan said. ‘‘I just don’t know what we had left. Michigan State obviously had more.”
Wisconsin (24-9) was led by Jordan Taylor with 19 points and Ryan Evans with 18, but the Badgers shot only 34.7 percent and committed 12 turnovers, their most in their last five games.