FINAL: MSU defeats Miami in the NCAA Tournament, will face No. 1 Kansas
TULSA, Okla. – MSU men's basketball thrives and advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after defeating the Miami Hurricanes, 78-58.
The Spartans will play the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks on Sunday at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. That game will tip-off at 5:15 p.m. on CBS.
Freshman forward Miles Bridges led MSU with 18 points and nine rebounds. Freshman forward Nick Ward added 19 points.
It was a nightmare start for MSU.
Bridges lost the tipoff and just two seconds later, Ward reached over the back to pick up his first foul. Senior guard Alvin Ellis III, playing in his last games as a Spartan, turned the ball over in his own back court for an easy Miami layup. Within the first three minutes, MSU had three turnovers, two by Ellis, and fell behind 10-0.
A few minutes later, redshirt-sophomore forward Kenny Goins turned the ball over, the team's fifth, and Miami's Bruce Brown took off and cocked back a right-handed slam – timeout by head coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans trailed 17-5 and had no structure or desire. Goins later played the victim in the show, posterized by Miami's Ebuka Izundu.
From there though, the game changed. MSU mounted a 12-2 run with a scoop and score from Bridges on the left block to tie the score.
Ellis attacked the basket for a layup as well, putting MSU up 25-23.
The Spartans' resurgence continued with the play of Ward. His energy and 11 first half points gave MSU a 38-27 halftime lead.
The beginning of the second half was dedicated to freshman guard Joshua Langford. Izzo said Langford had the lost art of a mid-range game. He stepped into shot after shot, scoring nine of the team's first 11 points in the second half. With 14:56 left in the second half, MSU was in control, 49-32.
With 11:39 to go in the second half, it was still all MSU, 55-38. The Spartans had squeezed the life out of the Hurricanes. Bridges would add a stamp to the game with a highlight reel put-back dunk. The largest lead held by the Spartans was 23 points.
Izzo and other MSU players said this time of year is "one and done time." It means one loss and the team is eliminated, but the Spartans also applied that to the glass. MSU has been a poor rebounding team all season because of their lack of size, but against Miami, the Spartans allowed only one shot from the Hurricanes before grabbing the rebound. MSU ended the game with a rebound margin of plus-13.
The freshmen play from the Spartans has been the story all season long. Against the Hurricanes, the freshmen class combined for 57 points and 19 rebounds. As a team, MSU shot 57 percent from the floor.
Points- Ward (19)
Rebounds- Bridges (9)
Assists- Winston (5)
Points- Newton (16)
Rebounds- Three players with 3
Assists- Brown (4)