(NEW YORK) — Tom Izzo is back where he seems to always be, the Elite Eight. For the eighth time since 1999, Izzo has led his Michigan State Spartans into the regional finals following a 61-59 win over Virginia on Friday night.
Michigan State (29-8) led 31-27 at halftime but came out the locker room struggling. The Spartans missed seven of their first eight shots and committed five turnovers. Virginia took advantage, and a 38-34 lead as the top seed in the East looked to reach their first Elite Eight since 1995.
However, the fourth-seeded Spartans went on a 13-2 run before the Cavaliers scored nine of the next 11 points to tie the game at 51 with 1:51 to play. Adreian Payne then buried three of his 16 points to give Michigan State the lead for good.
The Cavaliers (30-7) closed the gap to 60-59 with two seconds left but a Gary Harris free throw iced the game as Virginia’s last second attempt was off the mark. Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris each had 17 points in the loss while Branden Dawson placed all players with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Izzo is 6-1 all-time in the Elite Eight, leading the Spartans to a national championship in 2000. Michigan State will face Connecticut on Sunday for the East Regional crown.
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Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com