Michigan, which is quickly becoming more than just a feel-good story, outlasted Oklahoma State in a 92-91 thriller, setting the tone for a high-scoring Friday in the NCAA Tournament. "You just want to keep working and I wanted a shot at Kansas". Nick Ward led the Spartans with 19 points while Miles Bridges followed with 18 points of his own.
If he returns, he'll likely be the preseason pick for Big 12 Player of the Year, and be a candidate for national honors as well.
Barford had 12 of his 20 points after halftime for the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (26-9), who erased an 8-point second-half hole and scored the final 7 points of the game to earn the program's third straight opening-game NCAA win. Their 16 three-pointers overall tied a Big Ten record in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State was the team known for its breakneck speed in transition, but for a while there, it was the Hurricanes stealing and disrupting and racing up and down the floor like track stars.
Miami's young players have made an impact all season, but it was Michigan State's freshmen that fueled the Spartans comeback.
Izzo pointed to the Spartans' rigorous schedule this season benefiting them now. They made their 10-0 run and we're like, "alright, we're good" where a lot of teams will just fold. Maybe we can use this again, and yet, they're kind of playing in their own backyard.
SWEET SUCCESS: Louisville has made the Sweet 16 in five of the past six years.
No. 9 seed Michigan State (20-14) vs.
"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.
Langford scored nine of MSU's first 11 points in the second half, and his 3-pointer increased the lead to 49-32. Bridges finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Langford added 13 points, 10 of them in the second half.
But the 'Canes should expect to win, they've been the better and more consistent team throughout the entire season.
The battle looked settled when Michigan's D.J. Wilson made two free throws with four seconds left for a 92-88 lead - and also gave MI a cover with the 2.5-point spread favoring the Wolverines, CBS Sports reports. "In the second half, I settled down". They shot 4-14 the reminder of the first half.
- Miami defeated Michigan State in the only other meeting between the Hurricanes and Spartans. These two last met in 2012 with Miami getting a 67-59 win.
OSU lost to MI 92-91 on Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Miami has lost three of its last four entering the tournament to fall to 21-11 on the season.
The win ensures top seeds will remain flawless since the tournament expanded, with the schools now 132-0 against No. 16 seeds.