Few expected the Long Island Blackbirds to truly push Michigan State in the final No. 1 vs. No. 16 matchup of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. But push the Blackbirds have, trailing just 42-37 at the half.
Michigan State's usual suspects are pacing the Spartans. Draymond Green has nine points and six rebounds, and Adreian Payne had eight points and five boards, as Michigan State enjoyed a 20-10 advantage on the boards.
But the high-octane Blackbirds have played at their pace, not the middle-of-the-road Michigan State pace, and have been able to keep up despite inferior talent. Five Blackbirds had five or more points at the half, with C.J. Garner and Julian Boyd both scoring eight in the first period, and 5-of-8 shooting on threes has helped.
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