Men's basketball | Michigan State 80, Harvard 73: Michigan State fends off Harvard

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Michigan State 80, Harvard 73: Michigan State was coasting toward the NCAA tournament’s East Regional in New York when Harvard suddenly ambushed the bandwagon.

A double-digit lead and a carefree air were gradually suffocated by the Crimson, the Ivy League champions. Suddenly it was Harvard doing the dunking and bombing three-pointers. Suddenly it was Harvard ahead for the first time, with seven minutes left.

Michigan State, seeded fourth but a popular choice among pundits to win the national championship, was in trouble. Harvard, seeded 12th, led 56-55. But the Spartans (28-8) used a flurry of their own to go on an 11-1 run, push back Harvard and escape with a victory in Spokane, Wash.

Branden Dawson, who had averaged 10.4 points per game, scored 26, including 20 in the first half, and Gary Harris added 18 points. Wesley Saunders led Harvard (27-5) with 22 points.

Michigan State led 45-33 at halftime and appeared headed to an easy victory early in the second half.

Then Harvard’s Steve Moundou-Missi followed a dunk with a short jumper and then a more emphatic dunk, energizing the crowd behind the Crimson. Moundou-Missi tipped in another basket moments later, and Michigan State’s lead was down to 55-53. When Harvard’s Laurent Rivard drained a three-pointer with 7:12 left, a forgettable game suddenly had turned.

Connecticut 77, Villanova 65: Shabazz Napier scored 25 points and seventh-seeded Connecticut (28-8) used a 16-4 run midway through the second half to take control against No. 2 Villanova (29-5) in Buffalo, N.Y. Ryan Arcidiacono led the Wildcats with 18 points.

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