NEW YORK — Purdue threw a little of everything at Penn State star Tony Carr, the Big Ten's leading scorer. Bigger guys. Smaller ones. Switches and some double teams.
Carr managed only 12 points in a woeful shooting game, and No. 8 Purdue separated from Penn State in the second half of a 78-70 victory Saturday that put the Boilermakers in the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the second time in three seasons.
Third-seeded Purdue (28-5) faces No. 5 Michigan, which will try to repeat as tournament champs on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Purdue frustrated Carr and held him to 4-of-18 shooting. The sophomore faced an array of defenders, including the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Nojel Eastern, 5-10 P.J. Thompson, 6-4 Dakota Mathias, 6-8 Vincent Edwards and 6-1 Carsen Edwards.
"When you have a good player like that it takes more than one guy because he's able to make shots and make plays over guys," Vincent Edwards said. "They just did a good job of taking up that space and being able to force him into tough shots."
Shep Garner led the Nittany Lions (21-12) with a career-high 33 points and the senior set a school record with 129 career points in the Big Ten tournament.
The Boilermakers will be making their third appearance in the Big Ten championship since the tournament started in 1998. Their one championship came in 2009.
Against Penn State, Purdue used a 12-2 run the middle of the second half to build a 15-point lead. Carsen Edwards led the way, spinning through the lane for a driving layup and making a 3 from up top that made the score 59-44 with 9:15 left. He finished with 27 points and shot 6 of 9 from 3-point range after scoring 26 on Friday against Rutgers.
"It's a consistency," guard Dakota Mathias said of Edwards. "He's being very efficient, too."
Edwards made back-to-back 3s to make it 74-56 with 3:41 left and Purdue was on its way to play for a title.
Isaac Haas, the 7-2 center, added 17 points and seven rebounds for Purdue.
No. 15 Michigan 75, No. 2 Michigan State 64: Michigan was the best team in the Big Ten Conference at tournament time last year, and things aren't changing.
Mo Wagner scored 14 of his 15 points after a dreadful first half and fifth-seeded Michigan moved within a game of its second straight Big Ten tournament title with a victory over top-seeded Michigan State, ending the No. 2 ranked Spartans' 13-game winning streak.
Senior swingman Duncan Robinson said this year feels like 2017 when the Wolverines won the tournament as the No. 8 seed, the lowest seed to win the event.
"I think coming down the stretch in that championship game and how it felt, I think all the guys want that again more than anything," said Robinson, one of five players in double figures in the eighth straight win for Michigan (27-7). "We are one step closer, but we still have to stay locked in on the task at hand."
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson also had 15 for the No. 15 Wolverines, who were also the last team to beat Michigan State (29-4), when they did it on Jan. 13. Robinson added 13 points off the bench and Charles Matthews had 12.
Michigan was just too balanced and quick for Michigan State.
The difference was the second half. Wagner got going and the Wolverines lit up the Spartans' defense, hitting 12 of 18 from the field and making 20 of 27 free throws in the final 20 minutes.
Michigan coach John Beilein had a great motivational speech for Wagner, who was 0-for-7 from the field in first 20 minutes.
"Hey, Mo, are you going to make a shot?, Beilein recalled saying. "Because right now you're stinking the place up. Just make one shot."
Wagner, who finished 4 of 14 from the field, laughed when it was mentioned.
"Coach and I have a really good relationship," said Wagner, who stood in front of the Michigan fans after the game and repeated waived his arms to encourage the celebration. "He can say that. That's fine. He told me to pick it up a little bit and make plays."
Miles Bridges had 17 points to lead Michigan State before fouling out late. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 13 and Cassius Winston had 11, but the Spartans only crossed into double figures with the Michigan band revving the Maize and Blue faithful at Madison Square Garden with yet another version of "Hail To The Victors."
"Our mood is we're really mad, but like I said, we're not going to let it affect us in the future," Bridges said.
This was a rivalry game that both teams wanted and it showed in the opening minutes. There were two scrums after hard fouls, a technical foul was called against the Spartans' forward Nick Ward and referee Gene Steratore — yeah, the guy who led the officiating crew at the Super Bowl — lectured both Tom Izzo of Michigan State and Beilein after the nonsense. And that was just in the opening 4:24.
Michigan trailed 29-26 at the half, but used a 10-2 burst to open the second half and take a 36-31 lead it never lost.
Wagner had three baskets and a free throw, with a drive to the hoop seemingly getting him going.
Michigan State would get within two points a couple of times and was within 50-47 when Bridges hit a 3-pointer with 8:28 to go. However, Abdur-Rahkman and Simpson sandwiched layups around a missed jumper by Bridges to ignite a 7-2 spurt that Robinson capped with two free throws for a 57-49 edge with 5:23 left.
Michigan State never got closer than five points the rest of the way.