Virginia's Season Ends with a Loss to Michigan State in Sweet 16
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) -
The UVa Men's basketball team lost to Michigan State 61-59 Friday night in the NCAA Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The 'Hoos got a 17 points each from Joe Harris and Malcolm Brogdon in an intense game that wasn't decided until the final seconds.
"What a hard fought game," said UVa head coach Tony Bennett. "We maybe could've laid down, but they didn't. I told them what was remarkable about their season was sometimes you can get hot and have a five or six game stretch, but these guys did it from the Florida State game to win a regular season conference championship and then they carried it through to the conference championship, got here. They don't have to hang their heads for how they played. This to me is what is right about college basketball. To coach guys like this, it’s a joy to coach Joe and Akil and certainly Malcolm up here but these two seniors. You guys don't know them as well as I do. Some of the writers have but what they're about it good. I am thankful that for four years I got to be a part of watching them grow from boys to men and turn our program around."
Michigan State guard Branden Dawson scored a game high 24 points and tacked on 10 rebounds.
The Spartans (29-8) advance to the elite-8 where they will face Connecticut (29-8). This is the eighth time they've reached the regional final since 1985 under Spartans head coach, Tom Izzo.
Virginia finishes an historic season with a record of 30-7. The 30-wins ties a school record. Along the way Virginia won an ACC regular season championship and the school's first ACC tournament championship since 1976.
Joe Harris said, "Akil and I have been through a lot in our four years here. This is how we wanted to leave the program. We wanted to leave it in a better spot than when we came in. I think we definitely did that. For us to make it to a sweet 16 was awesome. To play in the Garden was unbelievable but what made it more special was the team that we have. It was a special team. The bond that we have with one another, the coaches, with our trainer, I mean it goes down the line with our managers...For all of us to experience this together made it such an unbelievable experience and something that we'll never forget for the rest of our lives.
Harris also set a school record with his 135th career appearance and tied the school record for career starts with his 128 - tying Ralph Sampson and Bryant Stith.
Virginia held its 24th straight opponent under 50% shooting but the Spartans defense was too tough forcing the 'Hoos to shoot 35.1% (20-57) from the field.
Virginia ends the season with 30 wins, tied for the most in school history (1981-82).
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