Tyrese Martin driving against Max Christie and Malik Hall.

The Michigan State Spartans have had a couple of close wins in the first two rounds of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. On Wednesday, they edged the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers 63-61 on an alley-oop dunk from Marcus Bingham Jr. with just 3.4 seconds left. On Thursday, they trailed the No. 22 UConn Huskies 60-59 with 31 seconds left, but then A.J. Hoggard made two free throws to put them into the lead. Then, Malik Hall (who also shone Wednesday with a career-high 24 points on nine-of-nine shooting from the field) stole the ball from the Huskies’ Tyrese Martin (Hall’s shown above defending against Martin earlier in the second half) by picking off a pass, drew a foul, and made both free throws (for his only points of the day) to extend the lead to 63-60. Here’s that steal:

After that, Jalen Gaffney had a chance to tie it for UConn with a three-point attempt in the final seconds, but he missed. Michigan State’s Tyson Walker then got the rebound and drew a foul from Gaffney, making one of his two shots to seal the win. That means the Spartans will move on in the championship bracket of the tournament. They’ll face the winner of VCU against No. 6 Baylor, with that game starting at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.

[ESPN, Clippit; photo from Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.