NEW YORK — Vincent Edwards was back to normal after a sprained ankle had him hobbling to the end of the regular season. It was a good thing for Purdue, too, because the Boilermakers needed Edwards at his best to fight back feisty Rutgers and a partisan crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Edwards scored 26 points as No. 8 Purdue advanced to the Big Ten tournament semifinals with an 82-75 victory Friday night.
Edwards injured his left ankle two weeks ago and missed two games. He played 25 minutes in Purdue's regular-season finale against Minnesota to knock the rust off and then had a few extra days to rest with the Boilermakers getting a double bye in the conference tournament.
"Credit my teammates for finding me and the coaches for putting me in position to make plays," Edwards said. "But just to be able to walk again and walk normally and put pressure on my foot feels great. Really don't take anything for granted after going through that type of injury."
Carsen Edwards also scored 26 points for the Boilermakers.
Corey Sanders scored 23 points, including a baseline jumper in the closing minute to pull Rutgers within 78-75. Sanders scored 74 points the three-game run by the last-place Scarlet Knights at Madison Square Garden. But that was all for Rutgers.
Both Edwardses made free throws in the final 30 seconds to send third-seeded Purdue (27-5) into a Saturday night game against seventh-seeded Penn State for a place in Sunday's title match.
Geo Baker scored 25 points for Rutgers (15-19), the 14th seed playing 35 miles from its campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Winning two games guaranteed this tournament as a success for Rutgers, which won only three in the Big Ten regular season. For the third straight night, the Scarlet Knights had the Garden rocking.
"Nobody expected us to win one game," Sanders said. "To win two and push Purdue to the max, that's a great accomplishment."
Rutgers looked a like a team riding a wave in the first half, taking it to Purdue and shooting 58 percent. Sanders was getting to the hoop and flicking in fall-away jumpers and the Scarlet Knights led 38-35 at the half.
"I don't really think we felt worn down. We had a lot of adrenaline coming in," Baker said. "We were hyped up for the game. We just came up short."
Rutgers wobbled but kept responding with big shots and hard work on the boards. The Scarlet Knights had 17 offensive rebounds. Baker converted a fast-break layup into a three-point play with 8:30 left and the Scarlet Knights had tied it at 62.
Moments later the Rutgers band played Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer" — a New Jersey anthem of sorts — but the "home team" in this first Big Ten Tournament played in New York City had peaked.
"But I didn't see fatigue from them at the end," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Sometimes you see you wear a team down that has to play three games in a row. I didn't see that from Rutgers. I thought we made a couple more plays than they did."
Vincent Edwards hit a 3 to put Purdue up 72-57 with 5:20 left and moments later Carsen Edwards scored inside to make it a seven-point game.
Penn State 69, No. 13 Ohio State 68: Tony Carr found Josh Reaves for a game-winning layup with 3.1 seconds to play and Penn State may have punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament with a victory over second-seeded Ohio State.
Carr had 25 points for the second straight night and the seventh-seeded Nittany Lions scored the final five points in beating the 13th-ranked Buckeyes for the third time this season.
Penn State (21-12) will face the winner of the quarterfinal between third-seeded and No. 8 Purdue and 14th-seeded Rutgers in the semifinals on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Lamar Stevens added 15 points and Shep Garner had 13 and a crucial steal from Big Ten Conference player of the year Keita Bates-Diop with 21 seconds to play.
The Nittany Lions did not call time out after the steal and Carr made a pass from the foul line to a wide-open Reaves underneath.
Ohio State (24-8) had a chance to win after calling a timeout, but a last-second shot by C.J. Jackson was not close.
Bates-Diop carried the Buckeyes in the second half, scoring 17 of his 25 points. However, all he is probably going to remember is losing the ball with 21 seconds to go and his team ahead 68-67.
Kam Williams and Jae'Sean Tate each added 10 points for the Buckeyes, who will wait for their invitation to the NCAA Tournament in a little more than a week.
No. 2 Michigan State 63, Wisconsin 60: The Big Ten tournament didn't get off to a great start for Tom Izzo and No. 2 Michigan State.
The ride to New York was delayed Thursday because the plane had to be de-iced. The top-seeded Spartans followed suit with a so-so start against Wisconsin on Friday, and they struggled most of the game.
The positive: Michigan State found a way to win its 13th straight game and advance to the conference semifinals.
Cassius Winston hit a go-ahead jumper with 7:17 to play and Michigan State beat ninth-seeded Wisconsin.
"I was disappointed in my team, maybe in myself, too," Izzo said. "I just didn't think we played well. But like some of my equipment men and guys like that said to me: 'When has it been any different with Wisconsin?'"
Miles Bridges led the Spartans (29-3) with 20 points and Winston finished with 17.
No. 15 Michigan 77, Nebraska 58: Maybe the most familiar fight song in college sports filled Madison Square Garden as Michigan turned the last six minutes of its Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal against Nebraska into garbage time.
"Hail to the victors valiant," the many Michigan fans sang as they were able to start turning their attention to a semifinal on Saturday that will bring a little extra juice to the Garden. For just the second time, Michigan and Michigan State will meet in the Big Ten Tournament.
"It's a rivalry game, even though it's postseason you want to come out and have a sense of urgency and be ready for a fight," Michigan guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman said after the 15th-ranked Wolverines eliminated the fourth-seeded Cornhuskers.
Abdur-Rahkman scored 21 points and Moe Wagner had 20 as fifth-seeded Michigan (26-7) dealt a significant blow to Nebraska's NCAA hopes.
Michigan and Michigan State's only other meeting in the Big Ten Tournament came in the 2014 championship game at Indianapolis. The Spartans won 69-55.
"I expect it to be really exciting," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "I think there will be a lot of Michigan fans here, but I expect Michigan State fans to travel well. I don't know the numbers, but we are in New York City. Our alums and our fans are."
The Michigan fans had plenty of time to sit back and enjoy Friday's game against Nebraska.
Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman were both limited by foul trouble in Michigan's opening tournament victory against Iowa on Thursday. The Wolverines' stars fouled out in the overtime game against the Hawkeyes, but Michigan survived without them.
Against the Huskers (22-10), Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman were full-go and Nebraska could not do much to stop them. Wagner drove the baseline for a dunk late in the first half that helped the Michigan go up 34-24 at the break.
Abdur-Rahkman's 3 with 6:01 left in the second half made it 61-42 for the Wolverines, giving their fans the opportunity to sing and chant "N-I-T" at Nebraska.
Isaiah Roby and James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska with 16 points each.