NCAA Tournament scores: Michigan State survives Virginia, headed to Elite 8

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Spartans will play UConn Sunday.

SB Nation 2014 NCAA March Madness Coverage

No. 4 Michigan State will be advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010 after a 61-59 victory over No. 1 Virginia.

Branden Dawson played the game of his life for Michigan State. Dawson, who missed several weeks in the middle of the season after breaking his hand, scored a season-high 24 points and grabbed ten rebounds.

With less than a minute remaining, Adreian Payne hit a three off of a pick-and-pop with Keith Appling near the top of the key to put MSU up, 54-51. That jumper came soon after he received a tongue-lashing from Tom Izzo in the huddle for passing up an open three with the shot clock winding down. The Spartans would never give that lead up.

During MSU's first few possessions, Virginia sent double teams the way of Payne any time he caught the ball in the post. A quick adjustment by Izzo to play the versatile Payne on the perimeter more often resulted in the Spartans taking a ten-point lead in the first ten minutes of the game.

Payne made an impact all over the court, scoring 16 points to go along with five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.

Before halftime, Virginia's defense held the Spartans scoreless for six minutes and took a 25-23 lead, but MSU would retake control once more heading into the half, 31-27.

In a game full of excitement, there were a number of highlight plays, including this jam by Gary Harris:

Harrisdunk_medium

Michigan State will face No. 8 UConn in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

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