March 18, 2005
By JIMMY GOLEN
AP Sports Writer
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Tom Izzo leaned back in his chair, his arms spread out, his lips pursed. The usually volatile Michigan State coach didn't like what he was seeing.
The fifth-seeded Spartans couldn't pull away until the final minutes, when Shannon Brown made a spinning layin to start a three-point play that helped Michigan State beat Old Dominion 89-81 on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Michigan State (23-6) managed to avoid a second consecutive first-round exit and instead gave Izzo, whose NCAA record is second only to Mike Krzyzewski's, his 20th tournament win. The Spartans will face 13th-seeded Vermont, which beat Syracuse 60-57 in overtime to advance to the second round of the Austin Regional.
Old Dominion (28-6) dominated the Colonial Athletic Association, but couldn't add to the upsets in the Worcester pod.
Brown scored 13 points, and Alan Anderson had 15 to lead five Spartans in double figures. Michigan State shot 57 percent (29-for-51) from the floor in the game, and that was despite making just three of 14 shots from 3-point range.
Alex Loughton had 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for Old Dominion after playing much of the second half in the foul trouble. Drew Williamson, who did not have a turnover in 91 minutes in the CAA tournament, had three on Friday.
Michigan State took a six-point lead, 74-68, before Valdas Vasylius hit a 3-pointer with 4:31 left. Kelvin Torbert made a basket from the lane and Isaiah Hunter answered, then Brown missed from the lane.
Hunter hit a pair of free throws to make it a 76-75 with 3:48 remaining before the teams traded misses. Brown got the ball under the basket, spun around and tossed it in, landing in a crouch and pumping his fists while the official whistled for a foul.
He hit the free throw to make it 79-75 with 2:50 left.
The Spartans extended it to six points again before Loughton's basket with 1:09 left made it 81-77. Then, with 54 seconds left, Paul Davis made a leaner in the lane at the shot-clock buzzer that was ruled good, giving the Spartans an 83-77 lead.
Michigan State went 6-for-6 from the line down the stretch to clinch it.