Michigan State picked up a much-needed win on Thursday. The Spartans pulled away from Minnesota late for a 77-67 win over the Gophers. MSU advances to the Quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament and adds to its NCAA Tournament resume.

The Gophers led for 20:57 of game time to Michigan State’s 15:43 of being ahead. Down the stretch, however, the Spartans were stronger.

Minnesota’s last lead was at the 12:32 mark of the 2nd half. Malik Hall scored 3 points the old-fashioned way and put MSU up 50-49 at the 11:51 mark.

From there, MSU never looked back. The Gophers stayed within single digits until A.J. Hoggard made it an 11-point game with a layup at the 1:11 mark.

Hoggard did not miss a shot on Thursday. He led the Spartans with 17 points, going 6-of-6 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and making 2 free throws. Minnesota’s Dawson Garcia was the game’s leading scorer with 19 points on 8-of-15 field-goal shooting and a pair of free throws.

MSU had 6 turnovers in the first half, but won the turnover battle 8-3 in the 2nd half thanks to 7 steals. The Spartans dominated 2nd-half points in the paint, 30-14.

Tom Izzo’s team moves on to face No. 1-seed Purdue on No. 1 Purdue at noon ET on Friday. It will be the Boilermakers’ first game of the Big Ten Tournament.

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Michigan State NCAA Tournament outlook

It has been up for debate among media members lately whether Michigan State is on the NCAA Tournament “bubble” ahead of Selection Sunday.

Jeff Goodman included MSU-Minnesota in his list of Thursday bubble games. Joe Lunardi, meanwhile, had the Spartans at the top of the Last Four Byes, seemingly safe from being left out.

Either way, the win is a boost for Izzo’s squad when it comes to the Big Dance. Michigan State was No. 23 in the NET rankings entering Thursday. Beating Minnesota improves MSU’s record to 19-13 overall and adds a Quad 2 win to the resume.

Entering the Quarterfinals, Michigan State’s NCAA Tournament resume breaks down as follows: 4-8 Quad 1, 6-5 Quad 2, 5-0 Quad 3, 4-0 Quad 4.