After squandering a 13-point lead in the first half, Michigan State basketball found itself down three in the second half with no momentum on its side.
The Spartans clamped down and did what fans have been wanting to see for months: closed. They locked down defensively and closed the game on a nice 13-5 run.
The win sends Michigan State to its first Sweet 16 since 2019 and it will face Kansas State this week with an Elite Eight on the line.
What’d we learn from this clutch win?
3. Carson Cooper gave some good minutes
Usually when Mady Sissoko is struggling or in foul trouble (the latter was the case on Sunday), it’s Jaxon Kohler who comes in and provides a spark in the post. On Sunday, it was Carson Cooper.
The freshman big man finished the game with just two points in 16 minutes, but he grabbed two rebounds and played really good defense in a pinch. I expected the post play to be a liability against Marquette, but it was actually the opposite. Cooper combined with Sissoko to have one of the best post defensive performances of the season against one of the nation’s top post-scoring teams.
Seeing Cooper contribute big minutes with the lights being the brightest was a really good sign.