COLUMBUS, OHIO (WWJ/AP) – It was not easy but the Michigan State Spartans beat the Saint Louis Billikens 65-61 on Sunday, sending the Spartans to the round of 16 in the West Regional of the  2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

Saint Louis was never out of the game against the No. 1 Spartans – but it’s top-seeded MSU that will advance to the Sweet 16.

“Getting win and moving on,” said Spartan head coach Tom Izzo. “We’ve got a lot of work to do for next week.”

Michigan State (29-7) will play No. 4 seed Louisville on Thursday in Phoenix.

Keith Appling scored a team high 19 points and hit a crucial 3 pointer when the Spartans were up by just 2 points late in the game to scrap their way past the ninth-seeded Billikens (26-8).

Saint Louis controlled the tempo but never got a complete handle on Draymond Green, Michigan State’s superb senior. He added six assists and even helped mop up sweat off the floor in the final minute.

Green had a double/double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, Brandon Wood had 10 pts. as did Derrick Nix off the bench.

Kwamain Mitchell scored 13 points and Brian Conklin 11 for Saint Louis, back in the tournament for the first time since 2000.

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(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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