NCAA Game Summary - Memphis vs. Michigan State
(Saturday, March 23rd)
Final Score: Michigan State 70, Memphis 48
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Freshman Gary Harris scored a career-high
23 points, as Michigan State stifled Memphis in the second half en route to a
70-48 victory in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at the Palace of
Adreian Payne posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while
Derrick Nix donated 13 points and eight boards to help the Spartans advance to
their fifth Sweet 16 in the last six seasons.
"It's part of the goal because we need to get to the Sweet 16 to get to the
Final Four and eventually a championship," Harris said of the victory. "We're
going to enjoy it on the way back, but then once we get to East Lansing, it's
time to get back to work."
Michigan State (27-8), seeded third in the Midwest Region, will next play the
winner between Duke and Creighton. The second-seeded Blue Devils and seventh-
seeded Bluejays face off on Sunday night.
Geron Johnson paced Memphis (31-5) with 16 points, while Joe Jackson added 12
for the Tigers, who slipped past St. Mary's in the second round to earn their
first NCAA Tournament victory since 2009.
With the game tied 6-6 over six minutes in, Harris started heating up, as the
Big Ten Freshman of the Year knocked down four 3-pointers en route to 14
points during a 20-7 MSU spurt that staked the Spartans to a 13-point edge
with eight minutes left in the half.
Memphis would retaliate, however, as Adonis Thomas finished back-to-
back buckets and Johnson added a pair of triples as part of a 12-2 Memphis
spurt that brought the Tigers within three, which is where the margin stood as
the teams went into the locker room.
But the Tigers would get no closer, as Michigan State allowed just one Memphis
field goal nearly nine minutes through the second stanza, which let the
Spartans create some separation.
Payne capped Michigan State's half-opening 13-3 surge with back-to-back dunks
before D.J. Stephens drained a 3-pointer to quell the Memphis field goal
drought and bring the Tigers within 45-35 with 11:01 remaining.
Jackson followed with a jumper to trim the margin to single digits, but Payne
bookended a quick 7-0 sprint with a pair of buckets to push the MSU lead to
52-37 with just over nine minutes left.
Michigan State closed the contest on a 12-2 run to pull away late, as a
Johnson triple with 5:39 left marked the final field goal of the contest for
Memphis, which shot a woeful 23.3 percent (7-for-30) from the floor in the
"We just had a stretch there in that second half where we just couldn't
score...just couldn't put the ball in the basket," Memphis coach Josh Pastner
admitted. "Unfortunately today we didn't shoot the ball well and that makes it
that much tougher."
MSU improved to 56-25 all-time in the NCAA Tournament ... Memphis had won 25
of its last 26 games overall ... Michigan State had lost the only two previous
meetings against Memphis, including a 92-74 setback in the 2008 Sweet 16 ...
Memphis shot 29.7 percent (19-for-64) overall ... Michigan State shot 50
percent (26-for-52) from the floor.
03/23 18:16:35 ET
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