Spartans move on to Elite Eight

Michigan State gets over the hump, wins a tight one against Oklahoma

Michigan State was down big early and on its heels, but it fought back. Then it fought back again, but Oklahoma extended its lead. And again.

A Branden Dawson fading jumper got the Spartans over the hump and gave Michigan State its first lead with less than 10 minutes to go. And once it got over the hump, it had enough, winning 62-58 on Friday to advance to the Elite Eight.

The Spartans will square off with a familiar postseason foe in Louisville on Sunday in Syracuse, N.Y.

Michigan State pulled within four multiple times late in the first half, but finally tied the game with a Travis Trice drive and finish and a Denzel Valentine floater to tie the game 39-39.

Neither team could take the lead for the next 3:33 until Buddy Hield drove and hit a floater over Tum Tum Nairn, drawing the foul and hitting the free throw to give OU a 42-39 lead.

Valentine answered right back with a corner three to tie it 42-42 before a fallaway short jumper from Dawson gave MSU its first lead 44-42 with 9:26 to go.

Another Dawson turnaround gave Michigan State the lead 46-45, but TaShawn Thomas answered right back.

Matt Costello took the lead back after a putback dunk off his own miss and Valentine hit another three as the Spartans led 51-47.

Trice extended the lead to 54-49 after a pair of Oklahoma free throws with a corner three. Another Trice bucket – a pivoting, falling away two near the bucket – gave MSU the 56-51 and his two free throws extended the lead to 58-53.

Hield pulled Oklahoma within two at 58-56 when he knocked down a three from just right of the key off an offensive rebound.

Trice’s crossover, stepback three with 29 seconds left looked good, but bounced out. Costello hit the rebound up and Valentine came down with it and was fouled. He hit them both. Thomas scored at the hoop to pull it back to 60-58, but Trice hit a pair of free throws – MSU went 6 for 6 late in the game – and the Spartans took the final lead at 62-58.

The Sooners came out of the gate at a blistering pace, scoring on nine of their first 10 possessions and hitting 8 of their first 11 shots on their way to an 18-8 lead.

But Oklahoma cooled off from there, going 5 for 21 from the field the rest of the half.


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