MSU took the gift and salted the game away on two Travis Walton free throws to give MSU the five point margin of victory.
At one point, Michigan State had a 16 point lead over the unconventional Wildcats who fed off a sensational three-point shooting performance by Moore who hit 5-of-9 from three point range for 15 points but his performance was offset by MSU's sensation guard Drew Neitzel who matched his five three pointers leading the Spartans with 20 points.
Neitzel said he wasn't alarmed by the closeness of the game, saying he felt that is the nature of playing an unconventional team like Northwestern.
"It's a tough game anytime you play against Northwestern. It's hard to get in a rhythm," said Neitzel. "They're constantly slowing the game down, slowing your amount of possession down and they hit some big shots. (Vince) Scott stepped out and hit a couple of big shots."
MSU didn't help themselves with missed free throws down the stretch. Neitzel missed the front end of a one-and-one and Walton missed the back end of one. Each time, Moore cashed in with triples to make the game too close for comfort.
State head coach Tom Izzo refused to throw his team under the bus for the way they finished. He defended the Spartans defensive effort against the three point shot despite NU's high percentage.
"I'm not concerned, we did not play great. I have to give them a lot of credit for it," said Izzo. They shot 43% and they shot a high percentage in the second half. I did not think our big guys did as good a job."
"The two they hit on Travis at the end; I think he's still one of, if not the best defensive player in this league. He had a hand up and give Moore credit, he hit two bombs or else its a 10-12 point game."
MSU now moves on to face #2 seed Wisconsin in the quarterfinal round contest tomorrow at 6:40pm in a game televised on ESPN Plus.