No. 24 Spartans hold off Wichita State, leave Atlantis on high note
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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.