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NCAA Tournament scores: Michigan State basketball stunned; Syracuse, Hawaii, VCU pull upsets

By The Sports Xchange   |   Updated March 18, 2016 at 8:16 PM
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NCAA men's basketball tournament: Round 1 Friday games

Middle Tennessee 90, Michigan State 81

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With all five starters scoring in double figures, the Blue Raiders scored a stunning 90-81 Midwest Region win at Scottrade Center for the school's biggest victory in at least two generations.

Middle Tennessee (25-9) advances to a Sunday matchup with 10th-seeded Syracuse, which dumped Dayton 70-51 earlier, while the Spartans (29-6) go home with expectations of a national championship derailed before they ever left the station.

It was the eighth time a 15 seed has beaten a 2.

Forward Reggie Upshaw, whose two free throws Saturday gave the Blue Raiders the Conference USA title over Old Dominion, paced them with 21 points. Guard Giddy Potts added 19, while forward Darnell Harris and guard Perrin Buford hit for 15 points each.

Guard Jaqawn Raymond tallied 11 for Middle Tennessee, which sank 55.9 percent of its field-goal attempts and converted 11-of-19 3-pointers.

Forward Matt Costello scored a game-high 22 points for Michigan State, while guard Bryn Forbes added 14. Guard Denzel Valentine chipped in a 13-point, 12-assist double-double and forward Deyonta Davis hit for 10 points.

The Spartans drew within one point at 65-64 on Costello's short jumper with 8:04 left, but the Blue Raiders countered every punch with one of their own. Michigan State sank nearly 61 percent of its field goals in the second half but never came close to shaking the heavy underdogs.

Finding the perfect blend of aggression and patience, Middle Tennessee balanced its work from the perimeter with a bevy of buckets off the dribble. It also added a handful of baskets with pretty back cuts.

When it ended, Buford spiked the ball into the floor and joined his teammates for postgame handshakes in a scene far less emotional than what many might have imagined for a 15-seed win over a 2-seed.

The last Blue Raiders' win that could compare on a national scale was in 1982, when they stunned Kentucky 50-44 in Nashville to derail a potential Kentucky-Louisville meeting in the NCAA Tournament.

NOTES: This was the teams' first meeting since Dec. 19, 1977, when Michigan State knocked off Middle Tennessee in a game where Spartan freshman Earvin "Magic" Johnson scored 12 points. ... The Blue Raiders are now 7-0 in tournaments this season, winning the Great Alaska Shootout and the Conference USA championship. ... Michigan State is the only Division I team to win at least 27 games in each of the last five seasons. [rev] => 1

Syracuse 70, Dayton 51

When the NCAA Tournament field was announced on Sunday, Syracuse was panned as one of the teams which netted an undeserved bid, critics citing its 1-5 finish to the regular season.

The Orange issued their rebuttal in the second half on Friday, turning a nail-biter into a beat-down as they routed Dayton 70-51 in a Midwest Region first-round game.

Malachi Richardson paced 10th-seeded Syracuse (20-13) with a game-high 21 points before fouling out, while four other teammates joined him in double figures. Tyler Roberson contributed 10 points and 18 rebounds as the Orange owned the glass 48-28, including 28-14 in the second half.

Charles Cooke led the seventh-seeded Flyers (25-8) with 14 points, but hit just 4 of 12 field goals. Teammate Scoochie Smith added 12, nine in the first half.

Hawaii 77, Cal 66

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The 13th-seeded Rainbow Warriors ousted the fourth-seeded Golden Bears in the South Region first round to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history

Quincy Smith scored 19 points, Roderick Bobbitt added 17 and Stefan Jovanovic had 16 to pace Hawaii (28-5).

Cal (23-11) pulled to within a point late in the first half and midway through the second, but the Rainbow Warriors beat the Bears back with the balanced scoring attack.

Villanova 86, UNC Asheville 56

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Daniel Ochefu returned to the starting lineup after being hampered by an ankle injury, scoring 17 points and pulling in 10 rebounds in the second-seeded Wildcats' win over the 15th-seeded Bulldogs in the South Region first round.

Villanova (30-5) moves into Sunday's second round. Ryan Arcidiacono scored 14 points and Kris Jenkins added 12 for the Wildcats.

Dylan Smith paced Asheville (22-12) with 14 points. The Bulldogs never led.

VCU 75, Oregon State 67

OKLAHOMA CITY -- It wasn't exactly an upset as the 10th-seeded Rams executed their game plan and defeated the seventh-seeded Beavers in the West Region first round.

JeQuan Lewis scored a team-high 21 points with seven rebounds and eight assists, while Mo Alie-Cox added 20 points and grabbed seven boards for VCU (25-10).

Gary Payton II led Oregon State (19-13) with 19 points.

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