"We shot 55 percent in the NCAA Tournament and just lost in the first round, outrebounded an opponent 40-21 and you lose". Also in double-figures for the Spartans are Nick Ward (13.7 PPG: 6.5 RPG) and Eron Harris (10.4 PPG).
The Spartans worked together to keep Miami from gaining any traction down the stretch. Kingsley didn't finish the season matching his Preseason SEC Player of the Year projection, but he's playing like one of best big men in the tournament right now. "When we feed off of each other, we're hard to beat". Michigan State's NCAA Tournament appearance streak is the third-longest active in the country, trailing only Kansas and Duke. The Hurricanes were just giving Michigan State more than it could handle and it was only a matter of time before the Spartans waved the white flag.
North Carolina 103, Texas Southern 64 - Justin Jackson broke out of a shooting slump with 21 points to help top-seeded North Carolina roll past Texas Southern 103-64 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's South Region.
"All the big games we've played in, I still must have warned them 15 times, but they did some foolish things early, casual things", Izzo said.
Izzo pointed to the Spartans' rigorous schedule this season benefiting them now. Louisville also is limiting teams to 39.9 percent shooting from the field, which is good for 15th in the nation. "They played a great game as well, but we will be back next year and do it again".
Yet, Walton will have his hands full Thursday with Juwan Evans, who is the Cowboys leading scorer with an average of 19.0 points per game. The Jayhawks move on to the Sweet 16. Michigan State gets number one seeded Kansas next in the second round.
"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.
Oklahoma State shot almost 55 percent overall itself, led by an electric point guard in Juwan Evans, who finished with 23 points (10-26 FG), 12 assists and seven rebounds.
The Hurricanes came out with boundless energy and dominated the first eight minutes, using tenacious defense to race to a 10-0 lead which widened to 17-5.
With Brown hitting his first three shots and the Spartans committing six early turnovers, the Hurricanes bolted out to a 17-5 lead in the early minutes of the game and appeared comfortable against a Michigan State team that narrowly earned its 20th straight tournament appearance.
The second half saw just four combined turnovers between the teams - each with two. "Once the momentum shifted from our side to their side we could never get it back". They shot 4-14 the reminder of the first half.
Third seed Baylor was a victor in Tulsa as Al Freeman came off the bench to score 21 points in a 91-73 romp over New Mexico State.