March Madness: Michigan State upends No. 2 Marquette, and Shaka Smart's Sweet 16 drought continues
Marquette got off to a good start on Sunday with a steal after the opening tip that led to a 2-0 lead.
But No. 7 seed Michigan State responded with an 11-0 run and turned back multiple Golden Eagles rallies in a 69-60 win to upend No. 2 Marquette and advance to the Sweet 16. The Golden Eagles became the fourth top-two seed to fall short of the Sweet 16, joining No. 1s Purdue and Kansas and No. 2 Arizona with early exits.
With the win, Tom Izzo's Spartans advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since a 2019 trip to the Final Four. For Marquette, the loss spells more postseason disappointment for head coach Shaka Smart, who hasn't led a team to the NCAA tournament's second weekend since a Final Four with VCU in 2011.
Smart has since built winners at Texas and now Marquette. But he didn't coach an NCAA tournament win in six seasons in Austin and saw the Longhorns lose in the first round of each of their three NCAA trips. Marquette lost in the second round as a No. 9 seed in 2022, Smart's first season as head coach.
Marquette, meanwhile, hasn't advanced to the tournament's second weekend since a 2013 trip to the Elite Eight under head coach Buzz Williams.
The Spartans won despite a frigid effort from beyond the arc. A 39.4% 3-point shooting team for the season, Michigan State shot just 2 of 16 (12.5%) from distance on Sunday. It found its edge inside and from the free-throw stripe, where it connected on 19-of-22 attempts.
The Spartans also repeatedly flustered Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek. The Marquette point guard finished with seven points, five assists and six turnovers while shooting 2 of 7 from the field. The Golden Eagles shot well from long distance, connecting on 11 of 27 (40.7%) attempts from beyond the arc. But buckets inside didn't come easy against a stiff Spartans defense that held Marquette to 38.5% shooting from the field overall.
Michigan State threatened to run away with the game early and led by as many as 13 in the first half. But Marquette closed the half with a 13-6 run to cut its deficit to five, then took a 39-36 lead early in the second half thanks to an 11-3 run that included three made 3-pointers.
Michigan State responded by holding Marquette scoreless for five minutes. It retook the lead for good at 44-42 with 8:48 remaining and closed the game with a 13-5 run to blow open what was a one-point game at the 3:36 mark.
Senior guard Tyson Walker led the Spartans effort with 23 points. Joey Hauser — a fifth-year senior who transferred from Marquette after his freshman year in 2019 — tallied 14 points and 10 rebounds against his former team.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper led three Golden Eagles in double digits with 16 points, alongside four rebounds. Michigan State advances to face Kansas State, which beat Kentucky earlier Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16.