NCAA BK

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 - 12:15 PM ET
Game Recap
 

No. 3 seed Michigan St. drops Valpo

Image: Michigan State (© Paul Sancya/AP)
No. 3 seed Michigan State is moving on to the third round.
Share This Story

   
 

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)

Derrick Nix got a pass down low, backed up his beefy body to put an opponent on his back and scored.

Arizona and Harvard players battle

CRUNCH TIME

We're down to 32 teams, which means the action just got more intense.

For much of Michigan State's NCAA tournament-opening win, it was as easy as giving Nix the ball and getting out of his way.

Nix had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help power the third-seeded Spartans past 14th-seeded Valparaiso 65-54 on Thursday with an inspired effort by their only senior.

''It's my last go-around,'' he said. ''And, I'm not ready to be done yet.''

The Spartans went on a 26-5 run in the first half to take control, and cruised to an easy victory much to the delight of a crowd filled with green-clad fans at the home of the NBA's Detroit Pistons.

Their hard-driving coach, though, wasn't totally satisfied because he said a ''sluggish'' start was followed up by a ''disgusting,'' finish.

''I was pleased with about 33, 34 minutes of that game,'' Tom Izzo said.

Michigan State (26-8) will play Memphis (31-4) on Saturday when the Spartans will be shooting for a spot in the round of 16 for the fifth time in six years. Memphis defeated St. Mary's 54-52.

The Crusaders (26-8) were no match for Michigan State in their first NCAA tourney in nine years, just as they weren't as a first-round loser in 2000 to the eventual champion Spartans.

Valpo had enough size to match up, but didn't have enough strength.

''We were a little overpowering inside,'' Izzo said.

The Crusaders didn't seem worried about the 6-foot-9, 270-pound Nix when asked about him the day before the game.

Valpo's 6-8, 240-pound forward Kevin Van Wijk nonchalantly said he and his teammates faced similar players in the Horizon League. If that's true, it didn't seem to prepare Van Wijk and his fellow post players for Nix's brute force, relatively nimble feet and soft hands.

''He had some ups and downs during the season, but he really bounced back,'' Van Wijk said.

Nix had nine points in the first half and when he made his fourth shot to put Michigan State ahead 32-12, he had as many field goals as the Crusaders' entire team. That basket was scored after backing down Bobby Capobianco so much that the 6-10, 245-pound forward fell on his back as if he was hit by a linebacker. Nix scored 14 in the second half, two points shy of matching his career high.

''He's definitely a load,'' Valpo forward Ryan Broekhoff said. ''He just sealed us a little bit too low, too close to the rim. And with his size and his skill level around the hoop, it's almost impossible to guard him.''

Van Wijk, meanwhile, missed both of his shots in the first half. He fouled out without making any of his six attempts and finishing with two points - far below his 12.7-point average.

''They took away just about anything we wanted to do, and that really got us out of our rhythm,'' Van Wijk said. ''It seemed like every time we tried something different, they immediately had an answer for it. ''

Valpo's other post player and leading scorer, Broekhoff, scored eight points - half his average - on 2 of 11 shooting.

Erik Buggs scored 14 and Matt Kenney had 10 points for the senior-laden Crusaders, whose coach Bryce Drew called as many timeouts as he could to slow down the Spartans.

It didn't work.

''You didn't see their best, and I think we had something to do with it,'' Izzo said.

CBK

FOX BRACKET CHALLENGE

The tournament has kicked off.
Click here to check on the status of your bracket.

While Nix dominated on the inside, Michigan State guards Keith Appling and Gary Harris gave the team offensive balance by making jumpers. Appling scored 15 points - making three 3-pointers - and Harris had 10 points.

When Valpo was in a zone early in the game when the score was tied at 8, Harris made a 3-pointer to put the Spartans ahead for good midway through the first half. He made another 3-pointer during the game's decisive run, making his extra work earlier in the week pay off for him and his team.

More than an hour after Monday's practice, Harris was back in the gym. He got a collapsed ball-return machine out of a corner by himself, wheeled it under a rim and set it up to put up some high-arcing shots. He made 52 of his first 71 shots, mostly from long range, during a personal workout thanks to a sweet stroke that has served the freshman - and the Spartans - well this season.

''Harris is going to be a special player,'' Izzo said. ''He can really make some shots.''

The Spartans missed 32 shots and corralled many of them, jumping up and hustling across the court for 20 offensive rebounds to help them have a 49-23 advantage in a facet of the game that Izzo's teams have done consistently during their streak of 16 straight NCAA tournaments.

''When they are on their game, they can play with any team in the country,'' Capobianco said.

Tagged: Michigan State, Michigan, Valparaiso, Derrick Nix, Kevin Van Wijk

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..