Joey Hauser recorded 17 points and eight rebounds as seventh-seeded Michigan State posted a 72-62 victory over 10th-seeded Southern California on Friday in an East Region first-round game in the NCAA Tournament at Columbus, Ohio.
Jaden Akins had 12 points and six rebounds and Tyson Walker contributed 12 points and four assists. A.J. Hoggard added 11 points and five assists for the Spartans (20-12), who advanced to a second-round clash Sunday against second-seeded Marquette.
Joshua Morgan’s 14 points led the Trojans (22-11). Kobe Johnson supplied 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Drew Peterson contributed 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Reese Dixon-Waters chipped in 10 points.
The Trojans’ usual leading scorer, Boogie Ellis, was held to six points. Ellis, who entered the game averaging 18.0 points, shot 3-for-12 from the field before fouling out.
With the score tied at 38 apiece, Ellis was called for an offensive foul. The Spartans then went on a 11-2 run. Hauser got it started with a 3-pointer and Carson Cooper had a pair of dunks in the stretch, first off a Walker feed and then on a putback.
USC responded with a 7-2 spurt, including a 3-pointer by Dixon-Waters, to cut the Spartans’ lead to 51-47.
Hoggard’s steal and layup with 9:20 remaining made it 58-49.
When Hauser and Akins hit back-to-back corner 3-pointers, Michigan State’s advantage grew to 15 at 66-51.
Johnson made consecutive 3-pointers to cut the Trojans’ deficit to single digits. Neither side scored again until Hauser split free throws with 1:06 remaining. USC couldn’t come closer than nine points the rest of the way.
“It was rewarding in the huddles at the end to hear them talking about the defense,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. “I think they understand that in this tournament hard to make a bunch of 3s and win on a consistent basis. So if you’re looking to win some games instead of a game, you better bring your defense.”
The Spartans gradually built an 11-point lead 11 minutes into the contest, as Mady Sissoko’s dunk gave his team a 24-13 lead. USC then started chipping away.
The Trojans finished the half with a 17-8 spurt to forge a 34-34 tie at the break. Morgan scored the first eight of those points for USC and led his club with 10 first-half points. Hauser topped the Spartans with eight points.
–Field Level Media
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