General view of UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio, site of the NCAA Tournament First Four. [Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports]

Michigan State Dominates Mississippi State In NCAA Men’s Hoops Tournament Opener

In the opening game of the 2024 men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, 9-seed Michigan State never trailed in a 69-51 win over 8-seed Mississippi State. Spartan coach Tom Izzo, who holds the record for most consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances at one school, improved to 20-6 in the first round.

Spartans Roll

Michigan State (20-14) shot out of the gates, going up 12 early in the first half and entering halftime up seven points; their largest lead overall was 18 in the second half.

The Spartans were led by guard duo Tyson Walker and Jaden Akins, who scored 19 and 15 points on 7-12 and 6-14 shooting. The team as a whole shot 50% from the field and 43% from 3-point range.

Akins had a pair of big plays midway through the second half, a strong dunk and a block on a breakaway.

Mississippi State Struggles

Mississippi State (21-14) had a bad shooting night at the worst possible time, shooting 37% from the field and only 22% on 3-pointers. They also only made 50% of their free throws and lost the rebounding battle by seven.

Freshman Josh Hubbard led the way for the Bulldogs with 15 points on 6-18 shooting. However, the second team All-SEC guard was cold from 3-point range, shooting 3 of 11 from distance. Hubbard was the only Mississippi State player to score in double figures in the game.

The Road Ahead

With their win, Michigan State moves on to play top-seeded North Carolina (28-7) in the second round of the West Regional. That game will be on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on CBS.

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