The No. 3 seed Michigan State Spartans (26-8, 13-5 Big Ten) defeated the No. 14 seed Valparaiso Crusaders (26-8, 13-3 Horizon) 65-54 in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament on Thursday at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Michigan State had a 17-point lead by halftime and increased its lead to as much as 27 points in the second half before eventually winning by 11.
Michigan State had three players finish in double-digit scoring. Derrick Nix had a double-double (his fourth of the season) and led the Spartans in scoring with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Keith Appling scored 15 and grabbed six rebounds, while Gary Harris added 10 points and a team-high four assists.
Michigan State shot 44.8 percent from the field compared to Valparaiso, which shot 35.2 percent. The Spartans were 6-of-15 (40 percent) from beyond the arc compared to the Crusaders, which were 7-of-25 (28 percent). Michigan State shot 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from the free-throw line, while Valparaiso shot 64.3 percent (9-of-14).
The Spartans won the rebounding battle 44-20.
The game was tied 8-8 with 12:38 left in the first half before Michigan State went on a 27-10 run going into halftime.
Michigan State extended its lead to 27 points, its largest of the game, with 14:19 left on a Gary Harris layup.
Michigan State will play the winner of Thursday’s matchup of No. 6 seed Memphis vs. No. 11 seed St. Mary’s on Saturday in the third round of the NCAA tournament at The Palace of Auburn Hills.