Michigan State muscles past USC 72-62 in March Madness – KGET 17

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Joey Hauser scored 17 points and No. 7 seed Michigan State held off No. 10 seed Southern California in the second half Thursday for a 72-62 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament’s East Region.

Coach Tom Izzo’s Spartans (20-12) will face the winner of Vermont-Marquette on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16. Marquette coach Shaka Smart sat in the press row for part of the second half to get a closer look at what his next opponent might be. .

He smartly watched as Michigan State turned up its defensive intensity after halftime to stifle the Trojans (22-11), who were eliminated in the first round of the tournament for the second year in a row.

Tyson Walker and Jaden Akins each added 12 points for Michigan State, which held USC to 34 percent shooting in the second half. It seemed like every possession was a challenge for the Trojans, who only stayed within range with some late 3-pointers and some terrible Michigan State free-throw shooting.

The Spartans missed six straight from the line during one stretch as they tried to close it out and finished 15 of 25 overall.

Joshua Morgan scored 14 and Kobe Johnson had 13 to lead USC.

Michigan State, making its 25th straight tournament appearance under Izzo, will look to build on what has been a unique and challenging season for the Spartans. The team became the face of the grieving school after a gunman killed three students and wounded five in a shooting on campus on Feb. 13.

Playing in Big Ten country, backed by a crowd wearing even more green on St. Patrick’s Day, the Spartans took control in the second half. AJ Hoggard made a steal to give Michigan State a 58-49 lead.

USC struggled to get good looks at the basket and fell into a bigger hole when Hauser and Jaden Akins buried back-to-back 3-pointers as Michigan State’s lead grew to 66-51 with 4:23 left.

Johnson knocked down two 3-pointers to pull USC within nine, but the Trojans could get no closer.


Izzo showed his soft, nurturing side, especially when he helped his team and school cope after a tragedy.

However, he did not like being described as a “teddy bear”.

And while he’s not as fiery these days, the 68-year-old is still demanding of his players.

“I often look in the mirror,” he said, “and sometimes I don’t like what I see in myself. And I let the players know that. Perhaps the side of terror will emerge again. I had a parent say something to me two days ago that I really enjoyed: ‘Train my kid, to hell with the outside stuff. Train my child.’

“So, I train them. I hope to take that with me this weekend and hopefully our team will respond.”


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