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Three Key Takeaways:
- The Blue Raiders’ Hot First-Half Shooting: Middle Tennessee State came into today hitting 38 percent of their three-point attempts while making a little more than seven threes per contest. They must have decided those numbers weren’t adequate for The Big Dance. Four different Blue Raiders combined to hit 8-for-12 from outside which helped them to a six-point halftime lead from which they were able to carry momentum for the rest of the game.
- The Spartans Didn’t Lay Down: Propelled by Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello combining for 29 second-half points, the Spartans were never completely out of it until the bitter end. Together, they accounted for 10 of Michigan State’s 16 makes in the second half. As close as Michigan State was to taking this game a few times, they never led.
- MTSU Never Let Up: MTSU made 56 percent of their field goals in the first half so you figured they had to do that again to give themselves a chance to close the game out. The Blue Raiders went ahead and made 57 percent of their shots in the final 20 minutes. They needed most of it to hold off a tried-and-tested blue-blood program with a Hall of Fame coach.
Star of the Game: Let’s give it to Middle Tennessee State’s starting lineup. Darnell Harris, Perrin Buford, Jaquan Raymond, Giddy Potts and Reggie Upshaw accounted for 81 of MTSU’s 90 points, countering every punch Michigan State that offered up. Plus, the whole rarity of a #15 seed beating a #2 seed who legitimately could have been a #1 seed — that team will now board a plane to East Lansing empty-handed. March is cold like that.