Tampa Bay Sports Day

NCAA: Michigan State Advances with Win Over Hurricanes

TULSA, Okla. — A year after being ousted in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Michigan State made that a distant memory by routing Miami.

Ninth-seeded Michigan State overwhelmed eighth-seeded Miami late in the first half and kept going on the way to a 78-58 victory in the Midwest Regional on Friday night at the BOK Center.

“I told my guys, all I want to do is work another night and get a chance to go against one of the top teams,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Forward Nick Ward scored 19 points to lead Michigan State. Guard Miles Bridges added 18 and guard Joshua Langford had 13.

The Spartans worked together to keep Miami from gaining any traction down the stretch.

“We just played as a team really,” Ward said. “When we feed off of each other, we’re hard to beat.”
Guard Ja’Quan Newton scored 16 points to pace Miami and guard Davon Reed pitched in with 12.

Michigan State had a No. 2 seed when No. 15 Middle Tennessee pulled off a shocking upset last season.

This time, the Spartans flipped the script. Though there was only one seed difference between Michigan State and Miami, the way the Spartans pounded the Hurricanes was surprising.

Michigan State (20-14) grabbed a double-digit lead by halftime and led by more than 15 for most of the second half after going on an 8-2 run immediately after the break.

Michigan State advances to play No. 1 seed Kansas on Sunday at the BOK Center.

Izzo pointed to the Spartans’ rigorous schedule this season benefiting them now.

“We’ve played three teams that were No. 1 in the country,” Izzo said. “We can use that again.”
Miami (21-12) exited in the first round for the first time in three trips to the NCAA Tournament under coach Jim Larranaga.

Previously, Larranaga guided the Hurricanes to the Sweet 16 in 2013 and 2016.
Michigan State shot 57 percent from the field as it ended Miami’s season.

“Disappointing to lose, certainly, but even more disappointing that we didn’t play the kind of defense that we’ve been playing for most of the season,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said.

Michigan State dug out of an early 12-point deficit by controlling the final 13 minutes of the first half.
Miami led 17-5 before Michigan State put together a 28-6 run, holding the Hurricanes to three field goals during a 12-minute span.

Ward scored 11 points, including a three-point play, and Bridges added six during the key first-half run. Ward capped it with a layup that gave the Spartans a 33-23 lead with 1:58 to go before the break.