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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Michigan State's Title Defense Going Strong

March 19, 2001|Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Michigan State had too much in too many ways for Fresno State and the defending national champion is in the round of 16 for the fourth year in a row.

The top-seeded Spartans (26-4) had eight players score six or more points in an 81-65 victory over No. 9 Fresno State on Sunday, advancing to the South Regional semifinals.

They will play 12th-seeded Gonzaga, which beat No. 13 Indiana State, on Friday in Atlanta.

The Spartans held the Bulldogs 17 points below their average for the season and, as expected, dominated the rebounding. Michigan State, which led the nation for the second consecutive season in rebound margin at plus-15.5, outrebounded the Bulldogs, 48-32.

Charlie Bell and Aloysius Anagonye each had 13 points to lead the Spartans, who are looking for their third consecutive Final Four appearance. Melvin Ely, the Western Athletic Conference player of the year, led the Bulldogs (26-7) with 17 points, but he was in foul trouble throughout.

The loss ended Coach Jerry Tarkanian's bid for a 14th trip to the round of 16 in 18 tournaments.

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