Recap: Michigan State vs. Harvard

Spokane, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Laurent Rivard's 3-pointer from the corner finally got Harvard over the hump.

It didn't take long for Michigan State to punch back.

Branden Dawson netted a career-high 26 points and Michigan State held off Harvard, 80-73, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

Dawson was 12-of-15 from the floor and added nine rebounds for the fourth- seeded Spartans (28-8), who will face either Virginia or Memphis in the Sweet 16.

MSU has reached the regional semifinals in 12 of the last 17 seasons.

The Crimson (27-5) trailed by as many as 16 in the second half, but Rivard's triple with 7:11 left capped a 17-5 run and gave them their first lead at 62-60.

Michigan State quickly countered with a 10-1 spurt to go back comfortably in front.

Travis Trice began the burst with a 3-pointer and after Adreian Payne hit a pair of free throws, Gary Harris nailed a triple to extend the margin back to 68-62. Denzel Valentine's trey capped the swing and gave the Spartans a 71-63 cushion with 4:02 to play.

Harvard never got within less than four the rest of the way.

Harris provided 18 points and five assists, while Payne put in 12 points coming off his career-high 41 in a win over Delaware in the second round on Thursday.

Wesley Saunders sunk all 10 of his free throws and scored 22 points for 12th- seeded Harvard, which beat Cincinnati to advance to the third round. The Crimson, seeded 14th a year ago, lost to Arizona in the third round last year.

Earlier, the Spartans raced out to a 21-12 advantage before settling for a 45-33 spread at the break.

Consecutive dunks by Payne and Dawson staked MSU to a 49-33 lead early in the second half.

The Spartans shot 49.1 percent (28-of-57) from the floor and 33.3 percent (7- of-21) from beyond the arc ... MSU tallied 17 assists on its 28 made field goals.

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