Early Action From March Madness (Spoiler Alert)

By Jim McCoy Thu 21st March SportsBucknellButlerMichigan St.NCAA men's basketballValparaiso
BUTLER VS. BUCKNELL Andrew Smith had a double-double including a career-high 16 rebounds, Roosevelt Jones added 14 points and Butler made its free throws down the stretch to hold off upset-minded Bucknell 68-56 in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday. After trailing for most of the game, 11th-seeded Bucknell got back into it with a 19-2 second-half run. But after Joe Willman's jumper cut Butler's lead to 43-42 with 6:56 left, the Bison (28-6) went almost five minutes without scoring. Butler went 18-of-20 at the line in the last 4:43. Willman scored a career-high 20 points for Bucknell, but the Bison couldn't overcome an off day by two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Mike Muscala. Bucknell's all-time leading scorer had nine points, only the second time this season he'd failed to reach double figures. Butler will face the winner of Davidson-Marquette on Saturday. MICHIGAN ST. VS. VALPARAISO Derrick Nix had 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to help power third-seeded Michigan State past 14th-seeded Valparaiso 65-54 on Thursday. The Spartans went on a 26-5 run in the first half to take control. Michigan State (26-8) will play the winner of the Memphis-St. Mary's game on Saturday when Spartans coach Tom Izzo will be shooting for a spot in the round of 16 for the fifth time in six years. The Crusaders (26-8) were no match for Michigan State in their first NCAA tournament in nine years, just as they weren't as a first-round loser in 2000 to the eventual champion Spartans. Valpo had enough size to match up, but didn't have enough strength.

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