The Spartans had everything they needed to pull off an upset victory over No. 15 Syracuse, but fell in heartbreaking fashion.
MSU (14-11 overall, 6-6 Big Ten) had the ball with 17 seconds remaining in regulation trailing 76-75 in front of a raucous home crowd that has only seen the Spartans lose once before at the Breslin Center this season..
With seven seconds remaining, sophomore guard Kelvin Torbert found an opening on the right baseline, but his jumper wouldnt go. The ball bounced around, before falling into the hands of sophomore forward Alan Anderson in the middle of the lane.
Anderson managed to get the shot off with a shade over a second remaining, but was only able to draw the front iron before the ball squirted out of bounds as the clock expired.
Sophomore guard Chris Hill was sensational for the Spartans all afternoon setting an MSU record by hitting 10 three-point shots in one game. Hills 34 points were also a career-high. Senior forward Al Anagonye finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds, three of which were on the offensive end.
The Spartans and the Orangemen were both sizzling on the offensive end in the first half. MSU was able to find open three-point looks against Syracuses 2-3 zone and knock them down. MSU was 6-for-11 in the first half from three-point land, with five coming from Hill.
Syracuse was also successful from just about anywhere on the floor. The Orangemen shot 53 percent from the field in the first half and finished shooting 52 percent for the game. Syracuse got a number of offensive put-backs and had 20 points in the paint to give them the 44-39 halftime lead.
That lead was quickly evaporated, 30 seconds into the first half by an Anagonye slam and Hills sixth three-pointer of the game to knot it at 44 apiece.
The two teams slugged it out for the rest of the half, before Anthony took over to give the Orangemen a 76-70 lead with 2:29 remaining. Anthony made a tough lay-up and was undercut by Torbert before he fell hard to the floor. The 6-foot-8 freshman recovered and knocked down the free throw.
On the ensuing play, Hill connected on a 25-footer with a hand in his face to set the Spartan record and draw the Spartans closer.
After a missed free throw by Syracuse guard Billy Edelin, Anderson drew a foul and connected on two free throws to cut the deficit to one.
Unfortunately for the Spartans the game swept away and so did the possibility of solidifying an NCAA tournament bid.
The Spartans will play three of their final four games at home, and will most likely have to win them all to have a chance to make it into the Big Dance.
The Spartans outrebounded the Orangemen 34-26, and only turned the ball over 13 times, with most of the damage coming in the first half when a couple of them led to uncontested layups for the Orangemen.
The loss is the second straight for the Spartans who will look to snap the losing streak against Minnesota on Wednesday night. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Breslin Center.