NEW YORK — Day 5 of the 2018 Big Ten men’s basketball tournament brought the event to a close. And although the tournament changed from its usual location, the result was the same as the last: a Michigan championship.
B1G CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: MICHIGAN 75, PURDUE 66
The run was already a smashing success for fifth-seeded Michigan, who ran away from both No. 4 seed Nebraska and No. 1 seed Michigan State on the way to the title game. But the Wolverines weren’t going to lay down in their fourth game in four days.
The Wolverines (28-7 overall) got key contributions early and often from an unlikely source: 7-foot-1 center Jon Teske. The sophomore went 6-of-9 from the field, hammering home powerful dunks and showing a silky smooth midrange. He scored 14 points and garnered “Teske, Teske” chants from the Wolverine-favored crowd.
Michigan led for more than 36 minutes in the game, matching every punch Purdue (28-6 overall) threw to try and get back into the game. After getting out to a 38-33 halftime lead in a half where they didn’t record a single turnover, the Wolverines put their foot back on the gas pedal to start the second. A 10-4 run ballooned their lead to 48-37, forcing Purdue to call a timeout.
Moe Wagner, voted the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after his 17 point output, hit back-to-back three’s midway through the half to push the Wolverine lead to 14. The second came off an inbounds play with the shot clock running down. He took the pass from Duncan Robinson facing away from the basket in the left corner. Turning around to his right, he hoisted the three and buried it to massive cheers from the crowd, effectively signifying that it was not the Boilers’ night.
Purdue got much of what it needed from burly center Isaac Haas, who scored 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting. However, star sophomore guard Carsen Edwards struggled to do his part. He scored 12 points and shot 4-for-16 from the field and began missing desperation shots late in the contest.
Michigan coach John Beilein and the Wolverines celebrated their second consecutive tournament title with some waterworks, similar to Beilein’s viral water gun display from last season.
LET’S GO!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/wVV7EncLTL
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) March 5, 2018
TWO WOLVERINES MAKE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
The Big Ten tournament champions also garnered some individual accolades following the program’s second-straight tournament title. Both Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman and Moe Wagner were named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team, with Wagner earning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.
Joining the two on the All-Tournament team were Rutgers guard Corey Sanders, Penn State guard Tony Carr and Purdue guard Carsen Edwards.
All 14 Big Ten teams have an unusual week off before national tournament play begins, due to the Big Ten’s decision to move its tournament up one week to get it to Madison Square Garden. Selection Sunday will determine which teams’ seasons are yet to be completed.
Michigan and Purdue are locks for at-large bids to the NCAA tournament, along with Michigan State and Ohio State. Bubble teams Nebraska and Penn State came into the league tourney needing impressive runs to make a case for an invite to the tournament, but may not have done enough in New York to make a difference. Indiana and Maryland are other teams that didn’t have Big Dance-worthy seasons but can still make the NIT.