In a game of runs, it was Michigan State that ran out of offense late in the game and fell to the Connecticut Huskies, 60-54 Sunday afternoon.
“We got what we deserved,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said after the game.
The Spartans were better in almost every statistical category except for turnovers. MSU’s eight turnovers in each half were too much to overcome.
As he has all tournament, Shabazz Napier carried the Huskies with 25 points and six rebounds.
“He wasn’t going to let his team lose,” Michigan State sophomore Garry Harris said of Napier. “That’s why he’s such a great player. He’s a winner.”
Harris did his best to keep the Spartans alive with 22 points on 8-14 shooting, but it was not enough.
UConn got off to a 12-2 lead before Michigan State outscored the Huskies 23-9 to lead 25-21 at the half. Harris hit two three’s and Denzel Valentine contributed a triple of his own to close the half on a 9-0 run for Michigan State.
In the second half, the Spartans led by as many as nine and looked to have a chance to put the game away when Napier hit a three to start a 12-0 run for the Huskies that put Connecticut up for good.
UConn extended their lead to 10 and looked to have the game in control when Michigan State refused to go away, coming within one late in the game.
The Spartans played the foul game in the closing seconds, but could not produce enough offense to earn the victory.
Izzo borrowed the term “out of body” to describe some of the team’s turnovers.
“We just didn’t seem as mentally into the game as you need to be,” Izzo said.
Adreian Payne was the only Spartan in double figures besides Harris. He scored 13 points and collected nine rebounds.
In his final game in green and white, Keith Appling scored two points and had four turnovers.
Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports