Battle was fouled with 6.1 seconds left and hit both free throws. If Michigan State settles for 3-point attempts against Syracuse's zone and continues to struggle making them that plays right into the Orange's hands.
His performance was punctuated by a stunning put-back dunk midway through the second half. On Monday, they'll host the victor of tonight's game between Toledo and Wright State.
Syracuse grabbed its first lead of the second half on Michigan State as the Spartans just can't buy a basket.
The Spartans didn't start rusty, like some Big Ten teams after a long layoff, but found out quickly Thomas was as good if not better than they thought.
Bluiett scored seven down the stretch, including his third 3-pointer for a 49-29 lead with 1:39 left.
A couple of 3-pointers by Stephen Brown - who finished with 20 points - and shots from deep by Kimbal Mackenzie and Nate Sestina helped the Bison close the game on a 19-7 run to cut the deficit to four points at the end.
On Friday, the MI state starters combined for 76 of the 82 total Spartan points.
In postseason play, it's often that a go-to star needs to stand out to help their team advance in the tournament.
Marshall 81, Wichita State 75: Jon Elmore scored 27 points and 13th-seeded Marshall toppled fourth-seeded Wichita State in San Diego for its first NCAA Tournament victory. This was the school's first appearance since 1998, and it was short-lived.
Syracuse is a problem for any team because its zone causes problems and the team suddenly has confidence, though still not much offense. The Horned Frogs were held 31 points below their season average.
Michigan State's offensive rebounding percentage was their largest advantage over Bucknell.
While those two teams haven't played since 1998, Boilermakers fans surely remember Beard for all the wrong reasons.
Despite its shorthanded status, Syracuse was able to squeeze out a 57-52 win over TCU in a first round matchup on Friday. He poured in 20 points with 11 rebounds, MI locked down on defense and pulled away for a 61-47 victory in their first-round matchup in the West Region in Wichita late Thursday night. 11 of the 16 came from Thomas's hot hand as he gave the Bison their first lead of the game with 5:24 remaining before the break at 28-27.
Clemson was almost flawless at the offensive end against the 12th-seeded champions of the WAC.
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Syracuse has won 4 of their last 5 games and has been led by their defense this season that ranks 12th in scoring defense, 8th in defensive FG%, 48th in rebound margin, and T-8th in blocks per game.
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