- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Drew Crawford walked off the court with 43 seconds left in his final Big Ten Tournament game to an ovation from fans and was embraced by Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

“I told him it’s been an honor playing against his teams,” Crawford said after Friday night’s 67-51 loss to the No. 22 Spartans in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. “Michigan State’s an unbelievable program. It means a lot that he’s always respected me as a player. So it was nice to send it off that way.”

Crawford walked off the court as Northwestern’s No. 2 career scoring leader.

He scored 21 points to surpass Billy McKinney on the scoring list and Alex Olah finished with 10 for the 11th-seeded Wildcats (14-19), who lost to the Spartans in the league tournament for the fourth time.

For Izzo, the respect is mutual.

“I don’t know how a guy could be that good of a kid when his dad is an official,” Izzo said, referring to Crawford’s father, Dan, who is an official in the NBA. “I don’t know how that’s possible, but he is.”

But it was Izzo’s Spartans who put an end to Crawford’s college playing days.

Branden Dawson had 16 points and Gary Harris added 13 points to lead the Spartans.

Dawson played in his fourth straight game since missing nine with a broken right hand and continues to wear a brace. After scoring 6.7 points and grabbing 6.3 rebounds in his first three games back, he finished with nine rebounds against the Wildcats and reached double figures for the first time since he scored 13 against Indiana in January.

The third-seeded Spartans (24-7), who lost 3 of 4 games heading into the contest, will face No. 12 Wisconsin in one semifinal Saturday.

Michigan State went on a 13-3 spurt in the first half and then extended the lead with a 9-3 run in the second half.

Denzel Valentine made a free throw, and Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Dawson each scored. Harris made a reverse lay-up and hit a 3-pointer to put Michigan State ahead 57-33 with 9:23 remaining.

The Spartans started Payne, Dawson, Valentine, Harris and Appling for the third straight game. The five started the first two games of the Big Ten season, but because of either injuries or illness, the five didn’t start together again until Michigan State’s win over Iowa on March 6.

Izzo had every player available for only the final three regular-season games and the Spartans still have work to do.

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” Izzo said. “We are going to be a work in progress every game we play. Are we making progress? Yeah, we are. But tomorrow will be a good test to see where we are.”

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