Michigan Wolverines win Big 10 men's basketball tourney with 75-66 victory over Purdue
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Sports Writer
— The tenacious point guard his coach calls a “pit bull” drove to the basket, but instead of putting up his go-to hook shot Zavier Simpson whipped a pass to the backup big man who became a Michigan folk hero at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Jon Teske’s two-handed slam brought down the house and pretty much finished off No. 8 Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament championship game. With Simpson playing catalyst on both ends of the floor — running Michigan’s efficient offense and leading its lock-down defense — and Teske scoring a surprising 14 points, the 15th-ranked Wolverines beat the Boilermakers 75-66.
Fifth-seeded Michigan (28-7) became the first team to repeat as Big Ten Tournament champs since Ohio State in 2010 and ’11.
Simpson finished with 10 points, five assists and five rebounds. Moe Wagner led Michigan with 17 points and was named most outstanding player of the tournament, despite playing only 17 minutes against Purdue because of foul trouble — which plagued him all week.
That’s where Teske stepped in. The 7-foot-1 sophomore came in averaging 3.3 points, but scored 12 in the first half and picked up the slack guarding Purdue’s 7-2 center Isaac Haas.
Simpson and Teske put an exclamation point on Michigan’s four-day Garden party with 6:02 left in the second half. Simpson drove and dished to Teske cutting to the basket. “Big Bad Jon,” as the guys call him, finished over Haas and let out a roar while chest bumping teammates on his way to the bench.
“I was so happy when he popped off after that dunk,” Wagner said.