March 18 (UPI) -- Michigan State senior Kyle Ahrens brought coach Tom Izzo to tears after an injury during the Spartans' win over Michigan in the Big Ten championship.
The injury occurred with 4:34 remaining in the first half of the Spartans' 65-60 victory Sunday at the United Center in Chicago. Ahrens jumped and tried to grab a rebound at the same time as Kenny Goins. They collided and Ahrens landed on the side of his left foot, injuring his ankle.
Izzo and several teammates shed tears as they watched the senior leader leave the game. Ahrens eventually returned to the bench on crutches.
"You have to know, it was not about pain; it was about opportunity. He knows this is March."- Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) March 18, 2019
- @tsnmike, on senior leader Kyle Ahrens' emotion after injury#MarchMadness x #MarchOnBTN pic.twitter.com/BPqM2dTiPW
X-rays were negative for a broken ankle but doctors said he has a severe sprain.
"I thought it was, for sure, broken," Ahrens told reporters. "I heard a pop. It hurt worse than when I broke my leg. I was just afraid. I had my hand on it and I was afraid to move my hand."
He had three points in six minutes for Michigan State. Matt McQuaid led the Spartans with 27 points. Ignas Brazdeikis scored 19 points and had six rebounds for the Wolverines.
"Every huddle we said today, 'this one's for Ahrens,'" Michigan State guard Cassius Winston said.
Izzo said Ahrens will miss the NCAA tournament after averaging 4.8 points per game this season for the Spartans.