Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Adreian Payne led six Michigan State players in double figures with 18 points as the 22nd-ranked Spartans held off No. 12 Wisconsin, 83-75, to advance to the final of the Big Ten Tournament.
Branden Dawson netted 14 points with seven rebounds, while Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine donated 12 apiece for the Spartans (25-8), who won back-to- back games for the first time since an 11-game winning streak was snapped on Jan. 25.
Keith Appling had 10 points and six assists and Travis Trice scored 11 off the bench for MSU, which will take on Michigan in Sunday's final. The Wolverines swept the season series.
"You know, it's Michigan," said Payne. "We're just excited to be able to play them again. They're a great team."
Wisconsin (26-7) lost despite a game-high 28 points from Frank Kaminsky, who hit all eight of his free-throw attempts in the setback. Sam Dekker and Ben Brust each added 11 points.
"You've got to give them credit on the way they shot the ball," said Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan.
The Badgers will enter the NCAA Tournament having lost two of three on the heels of eight consecutive victories.
MSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed in this one, quickly building a double digit margin on Matt Costello's jumper at 12:50.
"We got off to such a good start," said Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. "I thought we played some of our best basketball of the year in that first five minutes, and we built a pretty good lead."
Traevon Jackson's layup two minutes later cut Wisconsin's deficit to 21-15 before Payne's jumper ignited a 16-1 Spartans flurry, which Harris capped at 5:39 with his layup. Dawson, Payne and Trice all converted three-point plays during the run.
The Spartans led 43-26 after a dominant first half, outscoring Wisconsin 10-0 in transition during the stanza.
Wisconsin made its run midway through the second, with Dekker narrowing the gap to 66-58 with his 3-pointer with 7:44 left. The Badgers never got closer than six the rest of the way.
The Spartans improved to 20-3 with Dawson in the lineup this season. They went just 5-5 without him ... MSU won the rebounding margin, 32-28 ... Wisconsin's three reserves (Duje Dukan, Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig) combined for just one field goal in nine attempts.