Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 3/30/13
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

Brady issues statement on Facebook after having suspension lifted

Don Orsillo reportedly asked to lie about being fired by NESN

Matt Cassel believes Bills will keep three quarterbacks

St. Louis police seize scalpers' World Series tickets to give to friends

Eli Manning happy Tom Brady will play NFL season opener

Phil Kessel has shed 13 pounds this summer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cam Newton addresses ‘gang’ photo on Instagram

Steelers defense is younger and faster but not better

Duke basketball to visit White House next Tuesday

Report: Cowboys have interest in Broncos RB Montee Ball

NFL owners to discuss changing Goodell's disciplinary role

Report: Eagles trade Matt Barkley to Arizona Cardinals

WATCH: Ben Revere gifted Matt Wieters a home run

Judge Sarah Thomas as an NFL official, not a female NFL official

Redskins skip Robert Griffin III in jersey countdown

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Simona Halep popular with fans who want to kiss her

Patriots planned on raising a "Brady banner on opening night

Braves and Phillies sucking at the same time is rare

Montana St. linebacker delivers bone crushing hit in opener

Despite loss, all eyes still on Jim Harbaugh, Wolverines

Kirk Cousins discusses what it’s like to be called ‘Kurt’

Playoffs or not, Bryce Harper is the NL MVP

Donald Sterling’s wife Shelly seeking alimony

Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler: A love/hate relationship

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

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Tom Brady issues statement on Facebook

Robert Griffin III and a dream deferred

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker