Recap: Despite early woes, MSU captures win over Bradley
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.
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.
NO. 2 MICHIGAN STATE VS. NO. 15 BRADLEY
Tip-off: 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
Records: Michigan State 28-6, Bradley 20-14
Next up: Michigan State faces No. 10 Minnesota on Saturday, time and TV to be announced.