MI beat Oklahoma State and might be March's hottest team

Adjust Comment Print

Rashard Kelly contributed eight points and 10 rebounds to Wichita State's 31st victory of the season. Tom Izzo's Spartan teams are about as successful as any program in March since 2000. The Spartans are led by Miles Bridges who averages 16.7 points per game.

"They have nice guards", Wilson said. It was just whether or not we were going to play defense.

Bridges took a pass from Langford for a reverse layup with 10:38 to go, sparking the 30-8 closing run to the half in which the Spartans made 11 of their final 18 shots.

Top stat: 36, rebounds for Michigan State, compared to 23 for Miami. Rhode Island's length inside and the play of Hasaan Martin are going to be key factors in whether or not they can continue this run with a win against or on Sunday. It couldn't possibly happen again, yet the Cowboys drew the hottest team in the country in their first NCAA Tournament in two years. Jawun Evans led Oklahoma State (20-13) with 23 points.

Both teams enter tonight having dropped three of their last four games. The Spartans had only five more turnovers, with four of those coming in the final 6:15 as the Hurricanes tried to full-court-press their way out of a 22-point deficit, and Ward, no stranger to foul trouble throughout the season, didn't pick up his second until there was just over five minutes to play. Despite the worrisome run early on from Miami, Winston said everything MSU learned through the season helped fuel the inevitable comeback.

If you like offense, long-range shooting and a good, ol' fashioned point guard battle, you would have loved this back and forth game where neither squad was able to open up a meaningful lead until near the very end of the game. These young guys had never played in the NCAA Tournament before and the jitters were getting to them early.

OR advances to play Sunday against the victor of Friday's second game between sixth-seeded Creighton (25-9) and No. 11 Rhode Island (24-9).

The Hurricanes tried to cross up the Spartans with a 2-3 matchup zone defense that Izzo credited associate head coach Dwayne Stephens for including in the scouting report. There is no reason to believe Kansas will blow out MSU given how they have played this year. Thomas Welsh provided 16 points for the Bruins, one more than teammates Lonzo Ball and Aaron Holiday. This team was a highly overachieving squad in coach Brad Underwood's first year. Senior point guard Derek Walton Jr. scored 26 and added 11 assists as the Wolverines shot 16-for-29 from deep, tying a Big Ten record for threes in an NCAA Tournament game.

In previous big games against Arizona, Kentucky, Baylor and Duke, the Spartans hung tough with the high-octane competition, only to be done in by three- or four-minute lapses that ultimately cost them the game.

"The only thing I'm happy about is we get to work another night", Izzo said.