In the biggest game of the season, Joey Hauser answered the bell.

The senior forward scored a game-high 27 points while shooting 9-of-12 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, leading Michigan State to a 74-73 win over Davidson in the first round on Friday night. He also pulled won 8 rebounds and dished out 2 assists in the win.

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For Hauser, it was his best outing of the season at Michigan State. His previous season-best was a 17-point night in a win over High Point.

Friday night’s showdown was a dogfight from the opening tip. Neither team held a lead of more than 8 points throughout the game, providing everyone in the building with that intense March Madness atmosphere.

Davidson led 56-51 with less than 7 minutes to play, putting the Spartans in a pinch late in the contest. But AJ Hoggard, Gabe Brown and Hauser all hit clutch shots to put MSU back in from 59-56 and used a 10-0 run to propel it to a win.

Davidson hit some shots late in the game, but MSU’s ability to knock down clutch free throws proved to be just enough to escape.

Along with Hauser’s big night, Michigan State also got great production from Hoggard, who scored 14 points, and Brown, who added 12 and 3 assists. The Spartans also controlled the basketball — an issue all season long — ending the game with just 7 turnovers.

With the win, Michigan State advances to the Round 32 to play No. 2 seed Duke.