EAST LANSING, Mich. – Keith Appling scored 16 points and Gary Harris added 12 to lift No. 10 Michigan State to a 71-61 win over Northwestern on Sunday night.
The Spartans (24-7, 13-5) were eliminated from Big Ten title contention early in their game when Indiana beat Michigan, and Michigan State struggled to put away the undermanned Wildcats. Northwestern (13-18, 4-14) rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit, tying the game at 51 before the Spartans recovered.
Kale Abrahamson scored 16 points for Northwestern, which has lost eight straight.
Michigan State senior Derrick Nix scored 10 points in his final home game. The Spartans shot 66 percent from the field and 6 of 10 from three-point range.
Early in the second half, Northwestern rallied to within five. It was 43-40 before Travis Trice and Adreian Payne made back-to-back three-pointers to push the lead back to nine.
The Wildcats answered with an 11-2 run, tying it at 51 on two free throws by Snider graduate Reggie Hearn. Abrahamson could have given Northwestern the lead, but his shot from near the top of the key went in and out.
Harris put Michigan State back up by two. Alex Olah tied it again with a dunk, but Nix scored inside to give the Spartans the lead for good.
Northwestern, which is without Drew Crawford and Jared Swopshire because of injuries, finished 7 of 27 from 3-point range. The Wildcats will be seeded 11th in the Big Ten tournament. Michigan State will be the No. 3 seed.
No. 22 WISCONSIN 63, PENN ST 60: In State College, Pa., Traevon Jackson made a contested three-pointer at the buzzer and finished with 15 points, and The Badgers (21-10, 12-6 Big Ten) survived an upset scare in its regular-season finale.
Wisconsin went the length of the court with less than 4 seconds left. Jackson pulled up at the wing and made the three over the outstretched arm of Kevin Montminy. Officials upheld the basket on the review.
Jermaine Marshall finished with 23 points for Penn State (10-20, 2-16).