No. 24 Spartans hold off Wichita State, leave Atlantis on high note
More Big Ten men’s hoops
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) Miles Bridges scored 21 points to help No. 24 Michigan State hold off Wichita State 77-72 on Friday in the Battle 4 Atlantis third-place game.
Eron Harris added 13 points for the Spartans (4-3), who followed Thursday’s loss to No. 20 Baylor by building a huge second-half lead – and then nearly blowing it.
They led by 18 midway through the half and held a 15-point lead with 8:05 left, only to see the Shockers (5-2) turn to fullcourt pressure to get back in it. Wichita State ran off a 14-0 run to get to 66-65 on Daishon Smith‘s layup over Bridges with 4:13 left.
The Shockers ultimately had one more chance to tie it in the final seconds, but Smith missed a long straightaway 3. Bridges grabbed the rebound and hit two clinching free throws with 4.7 seconds left.
Darral Willis scored 16 points to lead Wichita State.
Wichita State: As bad as things looked midway through the second half, the Shockers showed a downright scary fullcourt press to get back in it. Coach Gregg Marshall has tried to talk more about defense than the team’s offensive potential during three days in Atlantis; that finish might have reinforced it to his team, too.
Michigan State: A day after coach Tom Izzo said his team looked “awfully tired” amid a brutal opening schedule, the Spartans looked fresh and showed a balanced offense – for about 30 minutes. From there, the Spartans did just enough to hang on.
Wichita State: The Shockers return home for a Tuesday game against Southern Nazarene, a Division II program from Bethany, Oklahoma.
Michigan State: Things don’t get any easier for the Spartans. They travel to face No. 6 Duke in its famously hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.