LIU Brooklyn saw its upset aspirations and second straight NCAA Tournament appearance come to a close late Friday night at the hands of Michigan State.
From the time they learned of their spot in the bracket until into the second half on Friday night, the Blackbirds appeared intent on becoming the first 16 seed to triumph.
They more than just hung around in the first half. They hit some big 3’s and NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd threw one down for a key bucket coming out of a time out.
It was a 42-37 game in favor of the Spartans at the break.
The Blackbirds would pull within 46-42 in the second half, but as No. 1 seeds have a tendency to do, the Spartans exploded.
Riding their strength, size, and star player, Michigan State went on a 14-5 run capped by a three-pointer from all-everything 6-foot-7 power forward Draymond Green. Suddenly, it was 60-47. Then, 74-54.
Looking like a former Spartan who goes by the name Magic, Green finished with a triple-double and Tom Izzo’s team advanced.
Although LIU couldn’t pull it out, Friday was a great day for the mid-majors. Not one, but TWO 15 seed triumphed as Norfolk State shocked No. 2 Missouri and Lehigh later stunned No. 2 Duke. Then, there was No. 13 Ohio topping No. 4 Michigan. As our readers may remember, that is the same Ohio team who lost to NEC Tournament runner-up Robert Morris in Athens on Jan. 2.
Here’s what the victors had to say about the Blackbirds…
Tom Izzo: “I really like (LIU’s) team. When I looked at them on film, I thought they were really, really good…better than a 15 or 16 seed.”
Draymond Green: “Olasewere is very quick off the dribble…him and Boyd are great players. It surprised me how strong Olasewere is.”
Tom Izzo: “It was a big win for us against a team (LIU) that I thought was pretty solid, as these guys next to me can tell you.”
Related Press Clippings
Michigan State handles LIU 89-67 – Yahoo! Sports (AP)
In a day of upsets, LIU comes up short – New York Post (Steve Serby)
Michigan St. Spartans flex their muscles vs. LIU-Brooklyn in second half en route to 89-67 victory – New York Daily News (Dick Weiss)
Draymond Green’s triple-double paces Spartans in dispatching of Blackbirds – Detroit Free Press (Drew Sharp)
Michigan State too much for LIU Brooklyn – New York Post (Brian Lewis)
Michigan State-LIU Brooklyn Game Tweets
@NECcommish – Congrats to @LIUbasketball for a great season, they played hard against a really tough MSU team. Proud of @NECsports champs!
@Ugarles – I want LIU to join the @midmajority party. Brooklyn, RISE UP!
@giantswfan – #LIU sticking with #MichiganSt. … Five points at the half? That’s nothing….Got to watch NYC ballin’ after the break!
@nybuckets – If #LIU had made all of its free throws this game would be tied. Have to lock that down during the second half. Team can do it.
@tfhavens – #LIUBlackbirds winning all time match up 2-1. Who cares if they haven’t played since the 40’s. @NECsports
@tfhavens – Already one major upset in this region can the @NECsports champs #LIUBlackbirds pull off the ultimate?
@NECcommish – In Columbus watching 2nd half of Memphis v SLU game, about an hr to @LIUathletics tip v MSU. Can @NECsports deliver first #16 upset?
@AMcDermott21 – @NECsports @NECralph @nybuckets Will we be seeing another upset in about 4 hours from now?!? #GoNEC #GoLIU
In other news, Overtime! named the 2012 Sixth Man of the Tournament prior to tip-off of the Michigan State-LIU game. When winner Nelson Castillo found out the good news, he had this to say via Twitter…
“Holy crap! I’m the @NECsports 2012 #Overtime! 6th Man of the NEC Tournament!! Thank you NEC!! @NECralph @necbbt” from @NellyNel14