Nix, Michigan State Move to Round of 32
it comes the NCAA Tournament, there is not a coach or a team that has a
better reputation than Tom Izzo and his Michigan State Spartans. They
once again proved that reputation well-earned on Thursday, defeating the
Crusaders 65 -54 in a game that was not as close as the score would
the 26-9 13th seeded Horizon League champs were not the stiffest of
competition, the Crusaders are a well coached program that finished 6th
in the NCAA in shooting percentage, and the Spartans sent a clear signal
to the rest of the field with such a dominant performance.
in the game, the Crusaders were competitive, keeping the score 8-8 with
just a little over 11 minutes left to play in the first half. Then, the
athletic superiority of the Spartans kicked in, and Valparaiso began
settling for shots as the stifling Michigan State defense created
turnovers and kept the Crusaders from penetrating.
Michigan State closed the half with a 35-18 lead.
Spartans emerged from halftime equally hot, expanding their lead to
49-20. Valparaiso then went on an 11-0 run to close the gap to 18
points. The Crusaders would continue to slowly move in the right
direction to keep the loss to 11 points.
was led by Senior guards Ben Boggs and Erik Buggs who contributed 15
and 14 points a piece. The two typically play more minor roles for the
State was led by a dominant 23 point performance by Senior forward
Derrick Nix who averages only 9.5 ppg. Leading scorers Keith Appling and
Gary Harris contributed 15 and 10 points.
the beginning of the game it was revealed that former Spartan greats
like Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson had called players with the
simple message of “we are Michigan State, and this is our time of the
is clear Izzo’s team will carry that mentality throughout the
tournament, and the Spartans will move on to play the winner of the 2:45
game between Memphis and St. Mary’s