Tyus Battle scored 17 points and Oshae Brissett added 15 points and nine rebounds as the No. 11-seeded Syracuse Orange shocked the No. 3-seeded Michigan State Spartans 55-53 in the second round of the 2018 NCAA men's basketball tournament Sunday in Detroit.
Cassius Winston had 15 points and six assists for the Spartans.
In the last 34 seconds of the contest, MSU forward Miles Bridges missed two potential game-tying three-point attempts, and the teams combined for three turnovers. After Syracuse fouled to avoid allowing another potential game-tying three-point try, Matt McQuaid made two free throws to bring the Spartans within one with seven seconds left.
Then Battle and Winston each hit two more free throws following intentional fouls, and Orange forward Paschal Chukwu made the first of two to extend the Syracuse lead to 55-53 with 2.4 seconds remaining. Winston attempted a half-court three-pointer just before the buzzer, but his shot was offline and hit the backboard:
Neither team could get anything going offensively, and the squads combined for just six made field goals in the last 11 minutes. Michigan State shot just 25.8 percent from the field, and Bridges was 4-for-18 (22.2 percent). MSU missed 29 of its 37 three-point attempts, while Syracuse made just one of its eight shots from downtown.
There were also big discrepancies in the free-throw and rebounding departments. Syracuse shot 31 times from the charity stripe, while Michigan State attempted just 16 freebies. The Spartans were dominant on the glass, out-rebounding the Orange 44-24. Mike Waters of Syracuse.com noted the vast difference on the offensive glass in the first half:
The most memorable moment from the opening 20 minutes was this remarkable three-pointer by McQuaid to end the frame:
It was a disappointing end to the season for Michigan State, which played hard on defense but simply couldn't hit its shots. The Spartans finished their campaign 30-5.
Given Michigan State's performance this season, it was an impressive win for Syracuse, which OddsShark noted was a 10-point underdog entering the game. The Orange also had to play the last 6:39 without Frank Howard, who fouled out. He was third on the team in scoring (14.7 points per game) and first in assists (4.8) entering Sunday.
Syracuse won its third game in five days (it beat Arizona State in the First Four on Wednesday and TCU in the first round Friday). Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim commented on his team's performance, per Chris Carlson of Syracuse.com:
Syracuse (23-13) advanced to the Sweet 16 and will play the No. 2-seeded Duke Blue Devils on Friday in Omaha, Nebraska.