SOUTH BEND, Ind.- The Spartans will move on to the second round of the NCAA tournament after defeating Central Michigan 88-87.
MSU started off hot behind the three point line, shooting 71.4 percent (5-7) lead by junior guard Taryn McCutcheon’s three made three pointers. The Spartans’ height advantage in the post, did not stop CMU’s senior forward Reyna Frost from scoring 15 points in the first quarter. The Chippewas ended the first quarter with a 7-0 run, but MSU had the five point advantage, 25-20.
Central dominated the second quarter offensively as the Spartans defense struggled to answer the Frost question in the paint, despite the Spartans three point lead at the half, 43-40.
MSU shot 47.2 percent from the field, 55.6 percent from three point range and went 4-4 at the line. McCutcheon lead with nine points and two assists followed by freshman guard Nia Clouden and redshirt junior guard Shay Colley’s seven points each.
The Chippewas shot 56.3 percent from the field, 25 percent from beyond the arch and 66.7 percent from the line. Frost, the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, had 25 points and three rebounds followed by sophomore guard Micaela Kelly’s six points and four assists.
The Spartans uncharacteristically had a solid start to the third quarter with a 8-0 run before the Chippewas could answer at the the 8:35 mark with a Kelly triple. The Spartan defense kept CMU scoreless for 2:39 late in the third, but the offense could not capitalize and shot 1-7 during the drought.
At the end of the third, MSU had the five point advantage, 66-61 and were lead with a big quarter from sophomore forward Sidney Cooks’ 15 points and three rebounds.
The fourth quarter was a battle to the end and the Spartans prevailed with a Colley layup, 88-87.
MSU shot 52.2 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from three point range and 11-11 from the line. The Spartans were lead by Cooks' 21 points and five rebounds, followed by Clouden's 16 points.
CMU shot 52.2 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from beyond the arch and 87.5 percent from the line. Frost lead with 34 points and seven rebounds, followed by Kelly's 24 points and Hudson's 20 points.
The Spartans will face the the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Monday, March 25.