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Recap: Despite early woes, MSU captures win over Bradley

Connor Muldowney
The Detroit News
Bradley guard Nate Kennell (25), Bradley forward Elijah Childs, right, and Bradley guard Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye (23), rear, converge on Michigan State guard Cassius Winston (5)  in the first half.

MSU escapes with win

Out of the timeout, Aaron Henry made a couple of free throws and Bradley responded with a big 3-pointer to cut the MSU lead to five. Cassius Winston drew a foul on the ensuing possession and drained both free throws.

The Spartans extended the lead to 10 before Bradley called a timeout after a layup with 54 seconds to go. The Spartans held on to win 76-65.

Late surge for Michigan State

Matt McQuaid came out of a break with a huge 3-pointer to extend the Spartans' lead to six. Aaron Henry then added a leaner in the lane to make it 63-55 and forcing a Bradley timeout.

Spartans hold late lead

Cold shooting plagued the Spartans again out of the under-eight timeout. On top of that, Aaron Henry's turnover woes continued. 

Cassius Winston finally extended the lead to three with a floater heading into the under-four timeout.

Game going down to the wire

Bradley hit another 3-pointer from deep to take a one-point lead before Xavier Tillman answered with a layup. The two teams traded baskets and the Spartans held a one-point lead going into the under-eight timeout.

Michigan State goes on second-half run

Bradley started the second half like it started the first: on fire. The Braves scored the half's first four points, but the Spartans responded with an 10-0 run thanks to 3-pointers from Matt McQuaid and Cassius Winston. The run was ended with a couple of free throws by Bradley to cut the Michigan State lead to 44-41.

Winston added a nifty layup to extend the lead back to five but Aaron Henry turned the ball over on his second straight bad pass.

Nick Ward added a couple of free throws to put the Spartans up 50-43 but Bradley scored five straight points before a Michigan State offensive foul leading to the under-12 timeout.

Bradley holds lead at the half

The game went back-and-forth for the rest of the half with no lead for either team sitting at more than three points and Bradley took a one-point lead after yet another 3-pointer. They finished the half 6-for-9 from 3-point range while the Spartans were ice-cold.

Spartans hold slim lead

Bradley regained the lead after a 5-0 run, but Gabe Brown answered with a 3-pointer of his own to put the Spartans up 16-15. Matt McQuaid put the Spartans up three with a jumper in traffic and then Bradley rebounded with a 3-pointer.

McQuaid was then called for an under-cut flagrant foul but the Braves couldn't make their free throws to tie it up. Spartans lead 20-19 after the under-eight timeout.

MSU takes lead

Cassius Winston got the Spartan offense back on track with a floater after the under-16 timeout to cut the Bradley lead to four. Nick Ward then drew a flagrant foul and made a couple of free throws. Winston made a 3-pointer to give the Spartans their first lead since 2-0 and then added two more on a Kenny Goins layup.

Michigan State freshman Aaron Henry drives to the basket in the first half Thursday against Bradley in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Bradley gets off to hot start

Aaron Henry scored the first basket of the game on a nice baseline drive and hook and Bradley bounced back to scored five straight to take a three-point lead. Bradley scored five more after Michigan State's next basket to take a 10-4 lead into the first media timeout.

Michigan State opens NCAA Tournament play Thursday with a 2:45 p.m. game against Bradley in the East Region. Follow the action throughout the game with live updates by Connor Muldowney of The Detroit News.

Michigan State guard Cassius Winston passes to a teammate during Wednesday's practice in Des Moines, Iowa.

EAST REGION

NO. 2 MICHIGAN STATE VS. NO. 15 BRADLEY

Tip-off: 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa

TV/radio: CBS/760

Records: Michigan State 28-6, Bradley 20-14

Next up: Michigan State faces No. 10 Minnesota on Saturday, time and TV to be announced.