SPOKANE, Wash. -- The first half suggested this might be an easy one for Michigan State. It wasn't.
The Spartans survived a furious second-half rally from New Mexico State and prevailed 70-67 in the first round of the Midwest Regional.
New Mexico State fans were unhappy with a lane violation on a missed Spartans free throw with :18.6 seconds left. Given a second chance, Raymar Morgan was on target, making the score 70-67, and thereby forcing the Aggies to shoot threes for the tie. They missed two chances on the other end.
The Spartans led 42-29 at the half, but the Aggies made it a game with a 13-2 run to start the second half. How on fire were the Aggies? When they took a 53-52 lead, they were 10-of-12 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point range in the half. During that span, the Spartans were 4-of-16 from the field and 0-for-2 from 3-point range.
As New Mexico State cranked open the offense, it also cranked up its defense, showing it was willing to get physical with the Spartans, unlike the first half. Let's just say things got chippy a few times.
Kalin Lucas led all scorers with 25 points.