Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Derrick Nix fights for a basket in his last game on Michigan State In their fifth trip to the sweet sixteen in the last six years, 3rd seeded Michigan State basketball was unable to hold off the 2nd seeded Duke Blue Devils in the Midwest Regional Sweet Sixteen round in Indianapolis, IN. Earlier in this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Spartans were able to secure wins by using great defense and grabbing rebounds. Michigan State traveled to the Palace of Auburn Hills to take down Valparaiso and Memphis, where MSU freshman Gary Harris recorded his career high 23 points, another attribute of this Spartan team that fans were expecting to see tonight. Michigan State, now with the final season record of 27-9 (13-5 Big10), has a losing  7-3 series record against Duke. The most recent NCAA Tournament meeting between the two took place in 2005, where the 5th seeded MSU defeated the top seeded Duke 78-68, however Duke took down the Spartans in 2011, with a score of 74-69 in the Champions Classic. Michigan State head coach, Tom Izzo, made his 16th straight appearance in the tourney this year, which is the second longest active streak in the nation, only behind Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski, who is still making his 18th straight trip. After a Louisville win just before the Spartans took the court, the red in the stadium slowly turned into fans wearing green who were expecting a great battle between these two teams, which is what they got, in the first half at least. MSU’s Branden Dawson hit the first basket for the Spartans within the first two minutes. The score fluctuated many times in the opening of the game and a nasty hit to Derrick Nix earned another point to tie the game 10-10 at 15:07. With 4:59 in the first half, the Blue Devils lead by 8 points, their highest lead in the first, however thanks to a 4-11 run by the Spartans, they were able to bring the score up and ending the half only down by 1. The 32-31 score changed leads 8 times and the two teams were tied 4 times in the half. Adreian Payne got off to a slow start today, but was able to catch up in the last 3:35. With a couple free throws and a fancy dunk with a few minutes left in the half, Payne scored all 7 of his first half points within these final minutes, putting him in second for first half points, only behind Keith Appling who had 9. The second half, however, was the tale of two games. The first half Spartans who put up a good fight did not return the same in the second. With 17:10 left, Duke’s Seth Curry sank a three, making the score 41-38 and giving Duke a lead that they did not let go of for the remainder of the game. Previously in the season, Michigan State had struggled with turnovers, recording an average of 13.7 per game, including five games with 19 or more. Though there were 11 turnovers in tonight’s game, it wasn’t what sealed the game for Duke. Typically, MSU has a balanced scoring attack with all five of their starters averaging 9.1 points or better, yet this is the aspect that suffered in tonight’s battle. Keith Appling led the team with 16 points, followed by Adreian Payne with 14, while the rest on the team each recorded less than 10. After coming off his career record of 23 points last game, Gary Harris only accounted for 6 points against the Blue Devils, by going 2-11 in field goals and 0-3 in three pointers. Payne and Nix also had a combined field goal ratio of 6-20, while the team totaled 20-50 in field goals and 2-13 in threes. The struggles did not stop there for the Spartans. There was much foul trouble in the second half for both teams, but especially MSU. In the first half, they had 9 team fouls, while Duke had only 4. In the second, the Spartans leaped their personal fouls to a total of 24 and Duke sprang to 17 total team fouls. The influx of fouls took over the second half of the game, where they could not play for more than two minutes without hearing a whistle. However, much of Michigan State’s foul trouble wasn’t just the high number of fouls, but it was also attributed to the Spartans being unable to sink the free throws. Izzo was disappointed in this performance stating, “that one stretch was just free throw after free throw, and we couldn’t do anything about it.” The team went 18 for 24 with a 75% success rate, while Duke hit an impressive 92.3% of their shots from the line. When asked what made this game so much different from their impressive performances last week, Gary Harris immediately said, “Free throws. They’re a big part of the game.” After hitting both shots at the line, Duke extended the score to their largest lead of the Spartans with 3:52 to play with a score of 62-49. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they were unable to hold of this NCAA Tournament exceling team and the Michigan State basketball season ends here, falling to Duke 71-61. Being the only senior, Derrick Nix ended his college basketball career tonight in Indianapolis, but as Izzo said, “we just gotta lick our wounds and live for another day.”   Follow @ErinESports on twitter for more MSU updates!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

FA Cup Final: Arsenal earns record 12th title in 4-0 win over Aston Villa

James Harden wants some help in the backcourt

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Belichick mum on Deflategate in first remarks since discipline

Cavs shop sold out of Matthew Dellavedova merchandise

Who were those guys? A look back at the 1974-75 Warriors

Washington Redskins' DeSean Jackson up to old antics?

Klay Thompson's injury hurts Warriors' chances at NBA Title

Four former first-round picks playing for their NFL careers

NBA Finals: Cavs-Warriors lacks easy comparison and that's great

10 NFL storylines that headlined the past week

Blackhawks-Ducks Game 7 preview: Key players, prediction

Women’s World Cup power rankings: Which teams have the best shot at hoisting the trophy?

NBA Finals: A series 39 years in the making

WATCH: San Diego State player steals home to seal win

St. Thomas pitcher Ben Ancheff takes internet by storm

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.