State ousts Hens
Blue Hens fall to Michigan State in NCAA men's basketball tournament
4:31 p.m., March 20, 2014--The University of Delaware men’s basketball team has fallen 93-78 to Michigan State University in the NCAA Division I championship tournament in Spokane, Wash.
The Blue Hens trailed 44-33 at the end of an entertaining first half, which was close early then saw Michigan State make a big run and UD fight to get back within striking distance.
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The Hens came out firing to open the second half, cutting into the Michigan State lead, but the No. 4 seed Big 10 Conference team pulled away as the second half progressed.
Devon Saddler led the Hens with 21 points and Davon Usher had 20. Jarvis Threatt added 14.
Michigan State was led by Adreian Payne, who had a career-high 41 points.
UD (25-10), the Colonial Athletic Association champion, had a five-game win streak snapped but closed out one of the most successful seasons in school history.
The 25 wins was the second highest in school history and the NCAA tournament appearance was just the fifth ever for the Blue Hens.
"Congratulations to to Coach (Tom) Izzo and Michigan State," said Delaware head coach Monté Ross, the CAA Coach of the Year. "They are obviously a very good basketball team and an outstanding program. But I can't say enough about our team and our program.
"We have gotten to the point where we are not into moral victories," said Ross. "Our guys are so competitive and I was really proud of their effort tonight. But I have been proud of them all year long. This is such a special group and I think we represented the University well."
"He was on fire," said UD center Carl Baptiste, who had the tall task of guarding Payne all day and eventually fouled out with 2:08 left. "Once he got his jumper going he was very tough to stop. He has a very good turnaround jumper and is a very good player."
Michigan State (27-8) now advances to the third round where they play Harvard, a winner over Cincinnati, on Saturday.
"I would like to give a lot of credit to Monté," said Izzo. "Those three guards (Saddler, Usher, and Threatt) do a lot of things. It’s amazing how much they get to the free throw line and they did that all year long. We survived today but I think we learned something and we'll grow from it."
The team is expected to return from Spokane to the Bob Carpenter Center at about 8:30 p.m., Friday, March 21, and fans are invited to welcome them home.
Photos by Mark Campbell