Rushed Reactions: #4 Michigan State 93, #13 Delaware 78Posted by Kenny Ocker on March 20th, 2014
Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion. Kenny Ocker is an RTC correspondent. He is covering the Spokane pods of the East and West regionals this week. He wrote this after 4-seed Michigan State beat 13-seed Delaware 93-78 in Spokane on Thursday afternoon.
Three Key Takeaways.
- Adreian Payne played the best half of basketball I’ve ever seen in person. Michigan State’s star forward hit back-to-back three-pointers in the first half, then went inside for an old-fashioned three-point play, taking the game from Michigan State six-point lead to 33-18 in two minutes, then capped his personal 12-0 run with another three-pointer. He finished the first half with 23 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting and was perfect on four three-pointers and seven free throws. Just outstanding.
- Delaware got the pace it wanted. The Blue Hens came into the game with the 10th-fastest tempo in the nation and the Spartans were somewhat below average in their game speed. The 93-78 score reflects the up-and-down nature of this battle. Unfortunately for Delaware, there wasn’t much else that went the Blue Hens’ way, as a four-guard team built on shooting the ball made only 20-of-54 field goals. Don’t let the Blue Hens’ 78 points fool you; the Spartans had a strong defensive showing here today.
- Will they get the lights replaced in Spokane Arena by the time the next game tips off? The Spartans shot 53 percent from the field, 53 percent from three-point range, and 92 percent from the free-throw line this afternoon. Granted, defense isn’t exactly Delaware’s forte, but even still, this result should send chills down the spine of any team that may have to face the Spartans down the line in the East Region.
Star of the Game: Adreian Payne, Michigan State. He had 41 points on 10-of-15 shooting, 4-of-5 from three-point range, an NCAA Tournament record 17-of-17 free-throw shooting, and eight rebounds. Oh, and a clutch turnaround jumper on the left block when Delaware had trimmed Michigan State’s large lead down to 10 points with under three minutes remaining.
Quotable: “He’s the best big man I’ve faced in 21 years of basketball.” Delaware coach Monte Ross, on Payne’s performance.”
Sights and Sounds: Spokane Arena’s announcer called Michigan State guard Denzel Valentine “Denzel Washington.” So close. … Sparty plays cymbals in Michigan State’s band … Delaware’s Devon Saddler set up a three-pointer for Davon Usher with a pass between his legs in the second half … I’m pretty sure Delaware’s mascot wears Pumas.
What’s Next? Michigan State gets to take on former Michigan coach Tommy Amaker’s Harvard squad Saturday in the second round after the Crimson upset No. 5 seed Cincinnati. Delaware gets a sad phone call from vice president Joe Biden.