NCAA tournament: Top seed Michigan State holds off Saint Louis 65-61

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, March 18 2012 6:30 p.m. MDT

Cody Ellis and Mike McCall Jr. made 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds for Saint Louis, and Michigan State's victory wasn't assured until Mitchell's 3 with 3 seconds left was short.

As the horn sounded, Green, who had a triple-double Friday night in a win over LIU Brooklyn, raised his arms and hugged teammate Brandon Wood tightly before lining up with his teammate to shake hands with St. Louis' players.

There was no excessive celebrating for the Spartans. They didn't jump around, dance, pose for pictures or cut down the nets. Michigan State won't climb any ladders until they reach higher goals.

"It's about surviving and advancing," Green said. "That's what we did."

Majerus was proud of how his team battled.

"We fought our guts out," the coach said. "They're a terrific team. I don't know that we could have played better. Michigan State's a great team. They should win the national championship. They're extraordinarily well-coached. They have great kids. They compete. They do it the right way."

After the Spartans lost their first two games this season to North Carolina and Duke, there were some who wondered if this Michigan State squad would recover and live up to the school's high standards, the ones set by players such as Magic Johnson, Steve Smith, Scott Skiles and Mateen Cleaves.

There's no debate anymore. Michigan State is more than legitimate and the Spartans can win with any style. Make them run and they'll run. Slow them down and they'll crawl. Start a fight and they'll finish it.

They know what it takes.

"We all stuck together," Green said. "That's how we won."

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