MSU trails Duke, 32-31, at half time of Sweet 16


Indianapolis – With a trip to the Elite Eight on the line, the No. 2 seed Duke leads the No. 3 seed MSU men’s basketball, 32-31, at halftime of the Midwest Regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament.

Duke guard Seth Curry put his long range shooting ability on display in the half with a trio of 3-pointers and he leads all scorers with 14 points. Junior guard Keith Appling fought through a physical half of basketball to lead the Spartans with nine points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field.

The two college basketball titans traded shots from the opening tip, which allowed for eight lead changes and four ties in 20-minute half at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

After being subbed in off a timeout, freshman guard Denzel Valentine led an MSU surge with back-to-back buckets in the lane to put the Spartans ahead, 14-10, which was the largest MSU lead at any point of the half.

Trading the lead back and forth several times, senior center Derrick Nix tipped in a missed shot to give MSU an 18-17 lead just across the midway point of the half.

However, it was MSU’s last lead of the half as Curry drained a 3-pointer to put the Blue Devils up 20-18.

Curry’s shot from deep was the start of a 10-4 Duke run over the next few minutes of the half, which allowed the Blue Devils to seize all momentum of the game.

Junior center Adreian Payne made his presence felt down the stretch in the first half by stirring the crowd with a pair of big blocks and rattling the rim with a powerful dunk with 1:55 to play.

Being fed the ball from beyond the arc with the clock winding down, Payne buried a 3-pointer from the corner to pull MSU within a point of Duke.

Valentine missed a halfcourt shot at the buzzer for MSU to remain trailing by one.

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