Michigan State took a while to pull away after the Spartans built an 11-point lead in the first half only to go to halftime tied against No. 10-seeded USC. But in the end, the No. 7-seeded Spartans prevailed 72-62 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Tom Izzo lamented in a halftime interview that the Spartans did a poor job on ball-screen defense. They corrected it enough to advance as Izzo and the program are in the tournament for the 25th straight season. Izzo’s streak broke a record he shared with retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

During the first half, Izzo may remember this game for snapping a clipboard in frustration, something he laughed about after the game.

Michigan State’s defense improved in the second half, and most notably held Boogie Ellis to 6 points, and he also fouled out.

Joey Hauser paced the Spartans with 17 points, to lead 4 players in double figures, and he also had a team-high 8 rebounds. One blemish was a 15-for-25 performance at the foul line for the Spartans.

The Spartans, who improved to 20-12 on the season, will play the winner of Vermont-Marquette on Sunday.