2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament Recap
NCAA Tournament First Round Recap - Michigan State vs New Mexico State
(5) Michigan State 70, (12) New Mexico State 67
The Michigan State junior guard answered that question emphatically on Friday, pouring in a career-high 25 points to help the Spartans squeak past a scrappy, athletic New Mexico State squad.
NMSU guard Jahmar Young caused a stir on Thursday when he said at a press conference that he didn’t know who Lucas was. Lucas is Michigan State’s best and most recognizable player. He was the Big Ten MVP last season.
Obviously it was an innocuous comment that shouldn’t really bother anyone, and Young probably wasn’t trying to offend Lucas, but it makes for a good story. It also generated a little extra momentum for a team that made last year's national championship game against North Carolina.
Coincidentally or not, Lucas appeared to elbow Young in the… umm… midsection late in the game, leaving Young writhing on the floor in pain. OK, enough of that.
The Spartans prevailed, but it wasn't pretty.
Michigan State led by 13 at halftime, and appeared to be living up to its well-earned reputation as one of the nation’s top programs, especially in March. However, the Aggies started the second half on a 13-2 run that made the game close the rest of the way.
NMSU took its first lead, 53-52, on a Gordo Castillo trey with 11:41 to play, and until they were bailed out in the waning seconds, it was awfully scary from that point onward for the Spartans.
A controversial lane violation call against New Mexico State on a missed free throw by Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan with 18.6 seconds left gave Morgan a second chance to put the Spartans ahead by three. Morgan cashed in, forcing the Aggies to heave multiple desperation three-pointers for the tie. Two attempts failed, and Michigan State escaped, with just a little bit of help from the zebras.
As they get deeper into the tournament, the Spartans need to avoid the second-half lull that allowed the Aggies to make a game out of what was becoming a blowout. The inconsistency they’ve shown this season, tonight included, means Michigan State might have a tough time making it through the first weekend. On the other hand, Tom Izzo's team has all the ingredients to be alive in April.
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