CHICAGO — Cassius Winston scored 21 points and Kenny Goins keyed Michigan State's fast start, helping the sixth-ranked Spartans beat No. 19 Wisconsin 67-55 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Saturday.
Goins, Aaron Henry and Xavier Tillman also led a dominant rebounding effort as Michigan State earned its seventh consecutive win in its series against Wisconsin. Goins finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots, and Henry grabbed a career-high 11 boards to power the Spartans to a 44-30 advantage on the glass.
Winston shook out his left foot a bit after he accidentally kicked Wisconsin guard Brad Davison with about 4 minutes left in the first half. But the Big Ten Player of the Year stayed in the game and showed no sign of trouble while going 9 for 17 from the field and passing for six assists.
The Spartans (27-6) earned their ninth win in 10 games and will go for their sixth Big Ten tourney title on Sunday against rival Michigan.
Wisconsin star Ethan Happ bounced back nicely from a shaky performance in the quarterfinals against Nebraska, finishing with 20 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Kobe King had 13 points for the low-scoring Badgers.
Nate Reuvers, who had 14 points in the victory over the Cornhuskers, was 0 for 7 from the field and failed to score. D'Mitrik Trice had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting before fouling out with about a minute left.
The Badgers (23-10) got off to a slow start and didn't recover.
NO. 10 MICHIGAN 76, MINNESOTA 49: Isaiah Livers scored a career-high 21 points, and No. 10 Michigan closed in on a record third straight Big Ten Tournament championship with a romp over Minnesota in the semifinals.
The third-seeded Wolverines (28-5) took control with a big run in the first half and put the game away in the second. They will try to become the first team to win the conference tournament three years in a row when they face No. 6 Michigan State — a 67-55 winner over Wisconsin — on Sunday.
Livers matched a personal best by nailing four 3-pointers. Zavier Simpson added 15 points and nine assists, helping Michigan win its 10th straight Big Ten Tournament game — the conference's longest such streak.
Amir Coffey led Minnesota (21-13) with 14 points. But after squeezing out tight victories over Penn State and No. 13 Purdue to reach the semifinals for the second time in three years, the Gophers were simply overmatched.
The game was tied at 13 midway through the first half before the Wolverines broke it open with an 18-2 run, holding Minnesota scoreless for nearly six minutes.
Livers drove the baseline for a two-handed dunk and Simpson finished it with a 3, making it 31-15 with 3:34 left.
After Murphy scored in the paint to end the drought for Minnesota, Jon Teske buried a 3 for Michigan that hit the flat part of the back of the rim. And Simpson went nearly the length of the court for a buzzer-beating layup off a miss by Coffey, making it 38-19.
Michigan put the game away in the second half with a 9-0 run that made it 56-30 with about 14 minutes left.