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Tom Izzo back in the Sweet 16 as Michigan State upsets Marquette

Malik Hall (center), Tyson Walker, and Michigan State pulled away from Marquette late Sunday to dismiss the Big East champions and get Tom Izzo back in the Sweet 16.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Tyson Walker scored 23 points and No. 7 seed Michigan State beat second-seeded Marquette, 69-60, in Columbus, Ohio, sending coach Tom Izzo’s squad back to the Sweet 16 for the first time in four years.

Joey Hauser — a Marquette transfer — had 14 points and A.J. Hoggard had as 13 Michigan State (21-12) took over in the last three minutes. The Spartans advanced to play third-seeded Kansas State in the East Region semifinals on Thursday at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Izzo, the 68-year-old Hall of Fame coach, reached his 15th regional semifinal and won his record 16th March Madness game with a lower-seeded team — one more than Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, who retired after this season.

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This one was particularly meaningful. Izzo became the face of a grieving school where three students were killed in a campus shooting on Feb. 13.

“It’s been a long year,” an emotional Izzo said in a courtside interview. “I’m just happy for our guys.”

Olivier-Maxence Prosper led Marquette (29-7) with 16 points and Kam Jones had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Big East champions.

Michigan State led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Ben Gold and Prosper made back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Golden Eagles close within 33-28 at halftime.

Prosper hit two more 3s in the first minute of the second half to give Marquette its first lead of the day. Michigan State grabbed back the lead with an 8-0 run and didn’t relinquish it.

Creighton lets fly from outside to bounce Baylor

Ryan Nembhard had a career-high 30 points and No. 6 seed Creighton found its shooting touch to beat third-seeded Baylor, 85-76, in Denver and earn a spot in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons.

With Baylor heavily focused on containing big man Ryan Kalkbrenner, Nembhard and the Bluejays went to work from outside. They shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range after a 3-for-20 showing in a first-round win over North Carolina State. They also went 22 of 22 from the free throw line, including 10 for 10 from Nembhard.

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The Bluejays (23-12) will meet 15th-seeded Princeton in Louisville, Ky., on Friday in the NCAA Tournament. Princeton reached the South Region semifinals with wins over Arizona and Missouri.

LJ Cryer finished with 30 points for Baylor (23-11), which lost in the second round for the second consecutive year after winning the championship in 2021. Big 12 freshman of the year Keyonte George was held to seven points, well below his average of 15.6. George is projected as a potential lottery pick — should he decide to leave after this season.

Sanogo goes big for UConn

Adama Sanogo scored 24 points and Jordan Hawkins delivered from the 3-point line in the second half as UConn pulled away from Saint Mary’s, 70-55, in Albany, N.Y., to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in nine years.

No. 4 seed UConn (27-8) advanced to the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday. Next up is eighth-seeded Arkansas, which knocked off No. 1 seed Kansas.

Adama Sanogo finished with 24 points to lead UConn.John Minchillo/Associated Press

Sanogo followed up his 28-point game in the Huskies’ NCAA tourney opener against Iona with another powerful and efficient performance in the paint. The 245-pound junior was 11 for 16 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds, dominating a big-man matchup with Mitchell Saxen (six points, three rebounds and four fouls).

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Saint Mary’s (27-8) of the West Coast Conference failed to get out of the first weekend of the tournament for the second straight season as a No. 5 seed.

Aidan Mahaney and Logan Johnson each scored nine points for the Gaels, who played the final 25 minutes without third-leading scorer Alex Ducas. The senior left with an apparent back injury.

Kansas State weathers outside woes to bounce Calipari, UK

Markquis Nowell scored 23 of his 27 points after halftime, and Kansas State overcame a horrid start from outside by hitting a couple of clutch 3-pointers while topping Kentucky, 75-69, in Greensboro, N.C. Third-seeded Kansas State (25-9) heads to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2018, where it will play Michigan State. Ismael Massoud buried a 3 from the right wing at the 2:21 mark that gave Kansas State the lead for good. Keyontae Johnson followed with another 3 with 1:23 left to put Kansas State ahead by five. The 5-foot-8 Nowell, a third-team Associated Press All-American, played a fearless floor game while making 7 of 14 shots and 10 of 11 free throws. Oscar Tshiebwe had 25 points and 18 rebounds for sixth-seeded Kentucky (22-12), which shot 55 percent after halftime and led by eight early in the second half . . . Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller led a decisive second-half spurt for Miami, which beat Indiana, 85-69, in Albany, N.Y., to reach its second straight Sweet 16. Wong, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year who was limited to five points in a first-round win over Drake, had 27 points and eight rebounds for coach Jim Larrañaga’s fifth-seeded Hurricanes (27-7), the only ACC team left in March Madness and who will face top-seeded Houston on Friday. All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Hoosiers (23-12) . . . Jack Nunge scored 18 points, Adam Kunkel added 15 on five first-half 3-pointers, and No. 3 seed Xavier beat 11th-seeded Pittsburgh, 84-73, in Greensboro, N.C., to reach its first Sweet 16 since 2017. Colby Jones had 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists, and Souley Boum and Jerome Hunter each chipped in with 14 points as all five Xavier starters scored in double digits. Xavier had 17 assists on 19 baskets in the first half to build a 48-34 lead at the break. The Musketeers finished with 22 assists. Xavier (27-9) moves on to play No. 2 seed Texas on Friday in the Midwest Region semifinals in Kansas City, Mo. Blake Hinson scored 18 points and Jamarius Burton had 16 for Pitt (24-12).

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