AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Sporting Alert, Box Score) — No. 3 seed Michigan State outscored the sixth-seeded Memphis 38-19 in the second half on their way to crushing 70-48 victory in the NCAA March Madness 3rd round on Saturday.
Led 32-29 at half-time, the Spartans (27-8) pulled away after the interval to breeze into the sweet 16 for the fifth time in six years.
Gary Harris paced Michigan State with a career high 23 points, 16 of which came in the first half, and he was supported by Adreian Payne, who had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. The junior forward also had five blocks and two steals in the victory.
Derrick Nix added 13 points, seven boards and four steals for the Spartans, which have won five of the last six games overall.
Geron Johnson led Memphis (31-5) with 16 points and four rebounds, while Joe Jackson added 12 points and seven boards in the defeat.
Both teams were very poor from three-point range, with Michigan State shooting 4-of-6 for 25-percent and the Tigers 5-of-23 for 21-percent.
Michigan State will next play the winner of the Duke-Creighton contest on Friday in the Midwest Regional semifinals.