Michigan State 65, Saint Louis 61
Coming into the tournament, Michigan State was ranked number one. They are showing nothing less when playing in the tournament. Bound and determined not to be upset.
Today’s match-up against Saint Louis was probably closer than Michigan would have liked but they worked it out and will advance to the Sweet 16 with the 65-61 victory.
Draymond Green has been the leader for the Spartans all season and it was his responsibility to make sure everyone, including himself knew their role on the court. He led the Spartans with 16 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Kwamain Mitchell scored 13 points and Brian Conklin 11 for Saint Louis. This was the team’s first appearance in the tournament since 2000.
Keith Appling was told earlier in the game, during a timeout, by Green that he needed to be on his toes. He is a good listener because when Green trusted him with his sixth and final assist, he passed the ball with 1:34 left and Appling knocked down a 3 point, 20-foot, jumper. Appling ended the game with 19 points.
Kansas 63, Purdue 60
There wasn’t even a chance tonight for Kansas to catch their breath in the first half of this match up. Between the very physical defense of the Boilermakers, and Robbie Hummel’s offense Purdue trampled Kansas.
In the first half alone, Hummel went 7-for-8 scoring 22 points, mostly from long range. The Boilermakers were successful in frustrating Kansas’ Robinson early in the game, but many free throw opportunities gave him time to relax. You could see him on the sidelines during minutes where he was subbed out; he was emotionally wrapped in the game. This is both good and bad depending on who had the momentum at the time.
This biggest lead that Purdue had was by 11. While the first half was clearly the Robbie Hummel show, the second half brought the best in Kansas.
The first time the Boilermakers trailed was with 3:01 left in the second game, but with 2:30 left the led quickly switched back to Purdue. With 1:13 left, Johnson and Taylor connected for an unbelievable athletic play to bring the game within one point, 60-59.
With 0:23 second left on the clock, a sloppy possession by Purdue landed the ball in the hands of Elijah Johnson for a solid lay-up and a one point lead. Johnson ended the game with 18 points.
A wasted opportunity by the Boilermakers after a timeout with 2.5 left, gives Kansas the ball and they scored again. Kansas was going to win, they apparently are just late bloomers.
While being interviewed after the game, Johnson made the comment “I was learning, I was learning.”
He sure learned what being a leader was tonight. Purdue’s season ended tonight losing 63-60.