The LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team’s bid to become the first No. 16 seed to topple a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament came up short, as Michigan State dealt the Blackbirds an 89-67 Second Round defeat at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Junior Jamal Olasewere led LIU with 17 points as the Blackbirds gave the Spartans a run in the first half.
LIU (25-9) led by as many as five points in the early going, but Michigan State turned the tables with a 10-2 run. The Spartans rattled off six straight points before NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd threw down a dunk to pull the Blackbirds back to within 16-12.
Adreian Payne answered Boyd’s dunk with a put-back slam of his own and followed that with another dunk on the next Michigan State possession to put the Spartans up eight points.
LIU scratched its way back to within three despite having a trio of big men garner two first-half fouls. Junior Booker Hucks sank a three-pointer from the corner to cut the Spartans’ advantage to 27-24.
Later in the half, Michigan State would use an 8-1 run to take a 10-point lead, its largest of the period, with a minute-and-a-half to go. Olasewere got to the line for a pair and sophomore Jason Brickman found junior Brandon Thompson for a trey to cut the deficit to five with 39 seconds left. The Blackbirds came up with a big defensive stop to close out the half trailing 42-37.
In the second stanza, Big Ten Player of the Year Draymond Green scored on a layup to extend the Michigan State advantage to seven points. Olasewere answered with one of his career-high three three-pointers to make it a four-point game. After another Payne dunk, Boyd hit a jumper to keep the game at four.
That would be as close as the Blackbirds would get. Payne sank a shot and Green added back-to-back buckets in the lane to reestablish a 10-point edge for the Spartans. LIU would trim the deficit to seven on a layup by junior C.J. Garner but Michigan State came right back, increasing its lead to 13 at 60-47 on a three-pointer by Green.
Boyd answered with a three of his own but the Spartans went on a 14-4 run to take a 20-point lead, putting the contest out of reach for LIU.
The loss ends a successful season for the Blackbirds, who made it to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year by winning the Northeast Conference and earning an automatic bid.