Spartans survive Harvard, advance

Branden Dawson fuels Michigan State with 20 first-half point, but Harvard made it tight in the second half with a strong 14-2 run.

Michigan State is on to the Sweet 16, but it was hardly smooth sailing.

The Spartans withstood a big second-half run from Harvard to win 80-73 and move on to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year.

Branden Dawson had 20 first-half points to tie a career high before the break. He finished with a game-high and career-high 26 points.

The Spartans led by 12 at halftime, but the Crimson used a 16-2 second-half run to tie the game 55-55 with a Wesley Saunders layup.

Harvard's Laurent Rivard gave the Crimson a 62-60 lead with 7:11 to go. Travis Trice came right back with a 3-pointer of his own to give MSU the lead again and the Spartans wouldn't trail.

Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine followed with 3-pointers to ensure a Michigan State victory.

The Spartans will meet the winner of No. 1 seed Virginia and No. 8 Memphis on Friday in New York.

It is the 12th Sweet 16 appearance for the Spartans in Tom Izzo's 17 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

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