Tom Izzo saved a few tricks for his first matchup against his close friend and protégé. Nearly all of them came on defense.
Raymar Morgan scored 8 of his 14 points during a dominating first half, and ninth-seeded Michigan State clamped down on eighth-seeded Marquette in a 61-49 win in the first round of the East Regional last night in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Drew Neitzel and Marquise Gray added 12 points apiece for the Spartans (23-11), who shot nearly 54 percent and never trailed in advancing to face North Carolina in the second round tomorrow.
The nation's fourth-best scoring defense also held Marquette scoreless for almost 10 minutes to start the game and sent the Golden Eagles -- coached by Izzo's longtime friend, Tom Crean -- to less than 32 percent shooting in one of their worst performances of the season.
"I don't want to just be a defensive team -- basketball is a two-way game," Izzo said. "Saying that, if you can only be good at one, your chances of moving on are better if it's the defensive end."
Dominic James scored 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting and Wesley Matthews added 10 points for Marquette (24-10).
North Carolina 86, Eastern Kentucky 65 -- At Winston-Salem, N.C., Tyler Hansbrough had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help the Tar Heels give coach Roy Williams an NCAA-record 18 straight years with at least one tournament victory.
Reyshawn Terry added 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting for the Tar Heels (29-6), who advanced to face ninth-seeded Michigan State. The victory marked the 24th time in 25 appearances North Carolina has won at least one NCAA Tournament game, while Williams surpassed mentor Dean Smith's record of 17 straight years.
North Carolina led by as many as 27 points in the first half, then watched the 16th-seeded Colonels (21-12) claw to within 4 points early after the break.
The Tar Heels ultimately had the answer by getting back to the up-tempo attack. Hansbrough led the way by hitting two straight baskets and a 3-point play that pushed North Carolina's lead back up to 60-48 with 10:47 left.
Vanderbilt 77, GWU 44 -- Shan Foster scored 18 points and powered the sixth-seeded Commodores (21-11) to an easy victory in Sacramento.
Vanderbilt will face Washington State in the second round tomorrow after the Commodores' surprisingly easy victory in their first NCAA Tournament game since 2004, when they reached the Round of 16.
Vanderbilt did it with defense: George Washington (23-9) missed its first six shots and didn't get a field goal for nearly 6 1/2 minutes. The 11th-seeded Colonials then endured another 11 1/2-minute stretch without a basket, falling behind by 29 in the latter stages of the first half.
Washington St. 70, Oral Roberts 54 -- At Sacramento, reserve Ivory Clark scored 19 points and Kyle Weaver had 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists to power the third-seeded Cougars (26-7), who won their first NCAA Tournament game in 24 years.
Washington State pulled away with 59 percent shooting and one turnover in the second half.