WASHINGTON – Remember the scare Bradley gave Michigan State to start the NCAA tournament? Seems like eons ago now.
After throttling the Gophers by 20 points in the second round, second-seeded Michigan State had little trouble with third-seeded LSU on Friday at Capital One Arena, winning 80-63 in the East Region semifinals to advance to the Elite Eight for the 10th time in the Tom Izzo era.
The Spartans (31-6) will meet Duke on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four, the fifth NCAA tournament meeting between Izzo and Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Michigan State built a 17-point first-half lead before Tremont Waters led the Tigers back within four early in the second half. Then the Spartans pulled away again, as Aaron Henry finished with a season-high 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Cassius Winston added 17 points.
Freshman Gabe Brown scored 15 points for the Spartans, shooting 4-for-6 from three-point range. Brown came in averaging 2.0 points a game and had scored only five points over Michigan State’s previous 12 games.
“He might’ve had a career, and by career I mean the whole season,” Izzo said.
Waters scored 23 points, but the Tigers (28-7) looked discombobulated at the start, and Michigan State was ready to pounce, outrebounding LSU 21-10 in the first half.
Izzo said that was the best the Spartans have rebounded all year.