BC-BKW--NCAA-Central Michigan-Michigan State
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Shay Colley’s driving layup with 7.6 seconds left lifted No. 9-seed Michigan State to an 88-87 victory over No. 8 Central Michigan in a first-round NCAA Tournament game on Saturday.
The Chippewas had one final chance, but Micaela Kelly’s off-balance, hurried 15-footer at the buzzer was off the mark. Central Michigan had taken an 87-86 lead on Presley Hudson’s 3-pointer with 20.3 seconds remaining.
The miss sent the Spartans (21-11), coached by Central Michigan alum Suzy Merchant, into Monday’s second round against top-seed Notre Dame, a 92-50 winner over Bethune-Cookman earlier. Sue Guevara’s closed their season at 25-8.
Sidney Cooks scored 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting off the bench as the Spartans had five players score in double figures. Nia Clouden had 16 points, Colley 13, Taryn McCutcheon 12 and Jenna Allen 10.
That balance offset Central Michigan’s trio of Reyna Frost (34), Kelly (24) and Hudson (20), who earlier this season broke the assists record at Central held by Merchant. Kelly and Hudson each had five assists.
There were nine lead changes in the game that was tied five times. The two teams, meeting for the first time since the 2005-06 season despite their campuses being 68 miles from each other, swapped the lead five times in the final six minutes.
Hot shooting, especially from long range, helped Michigan State jump out to an early 25-13 lead in the first quarter.
Frost, who hit 16 of 27 shots, scored 21 of her team’s first 26 points but the Spartans took a 43-40 lead to the locker room. After three quarters, Michigan State led 66-61.
Michigan State: The Spartans are making their 17th all-time NCAA appearance, their 14th in the last 17 years. With the victory Saturday, Michigan State improved to 8-5 this season against nine opponents that reached the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans won the points in the paint, 52-46 and outscored Central’s bench, 29-7.
Central Michigan: The Chippewas were making their second straight NCAA appearance and fifth overall. A slow start hampered Central Michigan, which trailed by 12 at the 2:03 but managed to come back behind Frost.
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