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Michigan State holds off Georgia

Mar 20, 2015 - 9:54 PM Charlotte, NC ( - Denzel Valentine scored Michigan State's final eight points to help the Spartans hold off the Georgia Bulldogs, 70-63, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Valentine ended with 16 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals for the seventh-seeded Spartans (24-11), who are making their 18th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Travis Trice tallied 15 points and six assists for Michigan State, which will play second-seeded Virginia on Sunday. Bryn Forbes and Branden Dawson each had 14 points.

"I just thought our fast break was the difference in the game the first half and then in the second half the same thing, once they cut the lead we got a couple quick buckets off the break and that was the difference," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

Charles Mann ended with 19 points for the 10th-seeded Bulldogs (21-12), who made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011. Kenny Gaines recorded 15 points and Marcus Thornton added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Trailing 64-52 with 2:05 remaining, Georgia went on an 11-2 run to make things interesting. Gaines' three-point play cut the gap to 66-63 with 20.9 seconds left.

Valentine, however, made four free throws in the final 20.3 seconds to seal the victory.

Down by four, 14-10, the Spartans ended the first half on a 25-8 run to take control. Trice scored eight points during the surge, including a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to make it 35-22.

"We had a very good start and then we burped there for a minute in the first half and we had to play uphill, which is so hard to do," said Georgia coach Mark Fox. "They have a very good team, we wish them well and they certainly earned the win."

The Bulldogs got back into the game with a 15-4 spurt to start the second half. Mann tallied eight points during the burst to get Georgia within 39-37.

But the Spartans responded with a 13-4 run to make it a double-digit game again.

Game Notes

Michigan State shot 45.6 percent from the floor, while holding Georgia to 33.3 percent ... The Bulldogs went 21-of-26 from the foul line ... Georgia fell to 7-12 all-time in the NCAA Tournament ... MSU has made eight trips to the Final Four, and has won a pair of national championships (1979 and 2000).