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Michigan State outlasts Marquette; Izzo back to Sweet 16

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Tyson Walker scored 23 points and No. 7 seed Michigan State beat second-seeded Marquette 69-60 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, sending coach Tom Izzo’s squad back to the Sweet 16 for the first time in four years.

Joey Hauser — a Marquette transfer — had 14 points and A.J. Hoggard had as 13 Michigan State (21-12) took over in the last three minutes. The Spartans advanced to play third-seeded Kansas State in the East Region semifinals on Thursday at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Izzo, the 68-year-old Hall of Fame coach, reached his 15th regional semifinal and won his record 16th March Madness game with a lower-seeded team — one more than Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, who retired after this season.

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This one was particularly meaningful. Izzo became the face of a grieving school where three students were killed in a campus shooting on Feb. 13.

“It’s been a long year,” an emotional Izzo said in a courtside interview. “I’m just happy for our guys.”

Olivier-Maxence Prosper led Marquette (29-7) with 16 points and Kam Jones had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Big East champions.

Michigan State led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Ben Gold and Prosper made back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Golden Eagles close within 33-28 at halftime.

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Prosper hit two more 3s in the first minute of the second half to give Marquette its first lead of the day. Michigan State grabbed back the lead with an 8-0 run and didn’t relinquish it.

Back-to-back baskets in the paint by Hoggard and then Walker, both times as the shot clock expired, gave the Spartans a 60-55 lead with 2:20 left. Mady Sissoko then blocked shots on consecutive Marquette possessions, and Walker had a steal followed by a game-sealing dunk with 39 seconds left.

Marquette’s nine-game winning streak ended, concluding a season in which the Golden Eagles exceeded expectations under coach Shaka Smart, who has referred to Izzo as a mentor.

Michigan State, meanwhile, finished fourth in the Big Ten but appears to be improving at the right time.

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BIG PICTURE

Marquette: Coming off their first Big East Tournament title, the Golden Eagles dominated Vermont in the first round of March Madness, but Michigan State was a much tougher opponent. The Golden Eagles committed 11 of their 16 turnovers in the second half, and those giveaways led to 19 Spartans points.

Michigan State: The Spartans came out of their shooting funk after the halfway point of the second half and pulled away. They made 15 of their 17 free throws after halftime.

UP NEXT

Michigan State’s next opponent, Kansas State, is making its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2018 and first under coach Jerome Tang.

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