If you only have one last chance to make a big impression as a senior, you can't miss that opportunity for anything. On Thursday, Michigan State's Derrick Nix made sure to take advantage of that "last-chance" effort in the Spartans' opening round battle against Valparaiso at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Nix, the 6-foot-9, 270-pound captain, scored 23 points and added 15 rebounds as No. 3-seeded Michigan State rolled over first-round foe, No. 14-seeded Valparaiso, 65-54 to move onto the next round of the NCAA tournament. The 15 rebounds marked a career-high for Nix.
After the game, Nix acknowledged that this would be his last time in the Big Dance and was happy to help lead his team to a tournament-opening victory.
"It's my last go-around," the big senior said. "And, I'm not ready to be done yet."
In the first half of the match up, Michigan State went on a 26-5 run to steal away control of the game from the Crusaders. By that point, it was clear that seemingly nothing would stop the senior captain on his quest to avoid a first round elimination.
Head coach Tom Izzo, though overall pleased with his team's effort, noted there was a few minutes where he saw some items of concern with his players.
"I was pleased with about 33, 34 minutes of that game," Izzo told reporters.
The Spartans (26-8) will now suit up to play Memphis (31-4) on Saturday, seeking a victory to secure a spot within the Sweet Sixteen for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Memphis narrowly-defeated St. Mary's in their opening round battle 54-52.
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