Michigan State trailed Duke by one at halftime in the Sweet 16 matchup in the Midwest Region.
In the second half, though, Duke kicked up the defensive pressure and limited the Spartans offensive as Duke rolled 71-61 and will meet No. 1 overall seed Louisville in the Midwest Regional final on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Seth Curry was on fire shooting 8-for-17, 6-for-9 from behind the arc, en route to a game-high 29 points. But the defense in the last 20 minutes was what helped the Blue Devils advance. Michigan State entered the game with the advantage on the board with Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix inside, and that proved to be true as Sparty outrebounded Duke 33-26 and 8-4 on the offensive glass. However, Duke made it tough for the tandem inside to get anything going offensively.
Both Payne and Nix shot 3-for-10. Payne had 14 points, half of those came from the line, and grabbed nine rebounds. Nix, who did sit out with foul trouble in the second half, ended with nine points and 10 boards. With the inside presence was being held in check, Gary Harris also struggled shooting with 2-for-11 for six points in the loss.
To start the second half, Michigan State got a bucket from Nix and a Payne slam within the first two minutes. The Spartans didn’t convert on a field goal for six minutes when Harris connected on a layup. Harris’ score was the last field goal for almost nine-minute span. Michigan State had seven of its 10 turnovers in the second half also didn’t help matched with the offensive struggles.
Michigan State had it to seven at 63-56 with two minutes to go, but the Spartans had already dug themselves into a hole.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.
He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.
Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.
The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.
Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.
SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.
The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.
Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.
South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.
The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.
Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.
A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.
Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.
Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.
Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.
The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.
Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.