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Michigan State

Dawson, Michigan State Stave Off Wild Harvard Rally

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Adreian Payne #5 and Denzel Valentine #45 of the Michigan State Spartans . (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) FILE

Adreian Payne #5 and Denzel Valentine #45 of the Michigan State Spartans . (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) FILE

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Branden Dawson scored a career-high 26 points to help fourth-seeded Michigan State fend off a wild Harvard rally Saturday for an 80-73 victory in the NCAA tournament.

The 12th-seeded Crimson (27-5) trailed by 16 early in the second half but took a 62-60 lead when Laurent Rivard hit a 3-pointer with 7:12 remaining. Travis Trice answered with a 3 of his own on the next possession and the Spartans (28-8) never trailed again.

Michigan State made its 12th Sweet 16 in the last 17 years. Gary Harris had 18 points and five assists for the Spartans, who will play Virginia or Memphis next Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Wesley Saunders led Harvard with 22 points. The Crimson won the second tournament game in school history two nights ago.

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