March Madness: Kansas defeats Michigan State to advance to Sweet 16

20 March, 2017, 07:56 | Author: Eloise Marshall
  • Florida State guard Xavier Rathan Mayes falls down after being fouled by a Florida Gulf Coast defender during a first round matchup in the 2017 NCAA tournament on Mar. 16 in Orlando Florida

Michigan State didn't have a typical season by its lofty standards, losing 15 games, but this was a huge statement win for Bill Self's team.

When Kansas settled down and ran sets, Michigan State struggled to limit the Jayhawks' athleticism around the rim.

Kansas ran away from Michigan State 90-70 in a second-round game at Tulsa, Okla., and reached the regional semifinal round for the second straight year.

March 09 2017: during the 2017 NCAA Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the TCU Horned Frogs at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

After Jackson had scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the final 12 minutes, I asked Self how nice it was to have a player of Jackson's ability be so assertive at such an important time of year.

Then Kansas built up a double digit lead. Nonetheless, MSU will see Langford transform into a go-to scorer who averages almost 15 points per game. The rare Michigan State player who could go to the National Basketball Association after his freshman season, Bridges was terrific with 22 points and eight rebounds in defeat.

And so did his teammates.

As the Spartans tried to hang on, Kansas turned up their game to another level stretching their lead to 20 with under a minute to go at 90-70 which ended up being the final score.

"I have zero interest in winning games", he said, per Casey Harrison of the State News. And each time, Kansas emerged from the momentary break with complete control. "When they cut to one, we played our best ball".

Despite his momentary exit, Bridges netted 13 points by halftime and was one of three Spartans to share a stake in rebounds with three.

Total team effort. Total team emphasis.

The advantage of MSU lacking talented senior leaders this past season is that they don't have any to lose. No one on this roster plays for himself, and everyone plays for the common cause of hanging another banner inside Allen Fieldhouse. Landen Lucas picked up a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

"It was real fun", he said.

Unlike Nick Ward, Jackson can knock down jump shots, so his presence on the floor will be huge for MSU.

More to come on this game on Patch. The keys for MSU will be slowing down Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III.

The Jayhawks led Michigan State 54-53 with 12 minutes remaining and looked like exhausted.

"Up until the last ten minutes it was very enjoyable", he said. "And probably a pretty good 30".

"The last eight, 10 minutes, they were really good and I thought that was the difference", Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "Maybe more than people think we should've, but those moments helped define us when [the] game [was] on line".

"I feel like we're all competitors", Jackson said. "I had to play this game". "It was good for us to get prepared moving forward".

"(Coleby) gave us the spark we needed", Mason said.

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