Key moment: With 11:10 left in the first half, this was an 8-8 game. From that point, MSU outscored Valpo 27-10 the rest of the half to take a 35-18 edge at intermission. From that point, the game basically was over, with MSU building the lead to as many as 20 points in the second half.-The Spartans shot well, hitting 45 percent overall and 40 percent from 3-point range. That negated the 17 turnovers committed by Michigan State.
Key stat: 49, rebounds for Michigan State. The Crusaders had just 26. And the Spartans were especially dominant on the offensive glass, grabbing 20 boards. That led to numerous second-chance points for Michigan State, which also had Keith Appling (15 points) and Gary Harris (10) in double-figures.
Key player: Derrick Nix was a man among boys, hitting 10-of-16 shots for 23 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Valpo had no one who could match up with the 270-pound senior who ran the floor and dominated in the paint.
Next: Michigan State will play the winner of the game between No. 6 Memphis and No. 11 St. Mary’s, which beat Middle Tennessee in a play-in game.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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