The senior set the Michigan State tournament record with a career-high 41 points in the 93-78 win against Delaware.
It was the first 40-point game from Michigan State since Shawn Respert had 40 against Indiana in 1994. It also was the most since Terry Furlow had 41 against Detroit in 1975.
It also was the most since Kentucky's Tayshaun Prince had 41 against Tulsa in 2002.
Payne hit 6 of 8 from the field in the first half, in which he had 23 points and hit all four of his 3-point attempts. He finished 10 of 15 from the field, 4 of 5 from 3 and hit all 17 of his free throws – as he improved to 29 of 29 in his NCAA career.
Not to be lost in the Payne dominance, Travis Trice had 19 points and hit 7 of 8 from the field with three 3-pointers.
The Spartans will play No. 12 seed Harvard, which beat No. 5 Cincinnati earlier Thursday, on Saturday.