Northwestern’s 2013-14 season came to a close Friday with a 67-51 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals. 11th-seeded Northwestern (14-19, 6-12 Big Ten) exceeded tournament expectations with a first-round victory against No. 6 seed Iowa, but No. 3 seed Michigan State (24-8, 12-6) ran the Wildcats out of Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the quarters.
The Spartans, ranked No. 23 nationally, trailed 5-2 in the opening minutes. But once sophomore Denzel Valentine’s 3-pointer gave them a 7-5 lead, they never again trailed. Northwestern sophomore Tre Demps tied the score at 10 with a jumper, but Michigan State junior Branden Dawson tipped in a missed layup to give the lead to the Spartans for good.
Michigan State’s advantage reached as many as 24 points multiple times in the second half. Northwestern used an 11-0 to cut its deficit to 64-51 in the final minute.
The Wildcats, who once again played only seven guys with significant minutes, were led by senior Drew Crawford and sophomore Alex Olah. Crawford, in his final game in a Northwestern uniform, registered 21 points while Olah had 10.
Demps also added seven points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Michigan State received double-digit scoring from Dawson and sophomore Gary Harris with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Six other Spartans recorded at least five points.
Michigan State advances to Saturday’s semifinals, where it will face No. 2 seed Wisconsin.