By MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Denzel Valentine finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead No. 2 Michigan State past No. 13 Purdue 66-62 in Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game.
He was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after flirting with triple-doubles on three consecutive days. Michigan State (29-5) has won 13 of 14 and has its fifth tourney title, giving them an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue (26-8) was led by Vince Edwards with 19 points while A.J. Hammons and Caleb Swanigan had 11 each.
Michigan State took control with two 9-0 runs late in the first half and extended the margin to as much as 46-33 early in the second.
The Boilermakers charged back and got as close as 62-61 with 2:50 left when Rapheal Davis made two free throws.
But Valentine made a 16-footer with 1:45 left and the Spartans didn’t give up another basket.
Valentine was sensational again, making big play after big play.
He thwarted one of Purdue’s late runs by stripping the ball from Johnny Hill, driving the length of the court and drawing a foul.
Then, after losing his balance on a drive, Valentine flipped an alley-oop pass almost from his knees for a dunk.
He wasn’t finished.
After Hammons’ dunk got the Boilermakers within 52-51 with 7:48 left, Valentine grabbed the rebound of his own miss and quickly found Bryn Forbes open for a 3-pointer.
And twice in the final minute, when Purdue had a chance to take the lead and tie the score, Valentine came up with defensive rebounds to seal it.
Michigan State and Ohio State each have five tourney championships, though the Buckeyes later had to vacate the 2002 title.
CITY OF CHAMPIONS
The Spartans have turned Indianapolis into their second home. Coach Tom Izzo won the national title in Indy in 2000 and has been to the last two Final Fours here, too. That’s not all. The last three times the Big ten Tournament was played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Michigan State won the title. And it’s not just the men’s basketball team that has succeeded in the Circle City. Michigan State’s football team has played in three of the five Big Ten championship games held in Indy, winning the title in December. Last week, Michigan State’s women’s team also was a surprise finalist in the tourney.
Purdue: Had trailed for a combined total of 70 seconds in the tournament before Sunday. … Half of Purdue’s eight losses came in its own state, Indiana. The Boilermakers lost at home to Iowa, at Indiana and twice in Indy. … For only the second time this season, Purdue was outrebounded. Michigan State, which led the nation in rebounding margin, had a 41-31 edge.
Michigan State: Is 5-1 in Big Ten championship games. … Made eight 3-pointers to break the school’s season record. The Spartans have 310, six more than the 2013-14 team. … Matt Costello blocked four shots to become the school’s career leader with 145. He broke a tie for second with Adreian Payne (141) before passing Branden Dawson (142).
Purdue: NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State: NCAA Tournament.
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