Bartman: Freshman guard Bart Hyche came off the bench to give

Bartman: Freshman guard Bart Hyche came off the bench to give the Bulldogs a scoring lift during the first half. With his team shooting in the 20 percent range, Hyche nailed a pair of open 3-pointers and even rebounded his own miss for a layup.

“My job is to come in and give quality minutes,” he said. “VCU left me open. Marcus Bullard did a good job feeding it to me. it felt good.”

“He’s little (5-11) but he’s not afraid,” MSU coach Richard Williams said. “He can really shoot the open shot. I wasn’t surprised. I was awfully happy he made them.”

Last play: VCU coach Sonny Smith said credit should go to MSU forward Russell Walters for keeping his team from scoring in the final seconds.

VCU, down 54-51 with 26 seconds left, lost the ball on a forced turnover by Darryl Wilson with 11 seconds left as it was working for a 3-point shot.

“We were trying to set up a flare pass for Sherman Hamilton and we had a double-down planned, but Walters stopped both guys,” Smith said. “He did a tremendous job. We couldn’t get a shot off.”

No Nike: Teams playing in the NCAA Tournament cannot wear socks or sweatbands with corporate logos on them, so MSU junior forward Dontae’ Jones traded in his hightop Nike tube socks for a pair of plain ones. He also wore plain sweatbands.

“I was wearing soccer socks that I bought here in a mall,” Jones said.

Who’s next: The Bulldogs, now 23-7, advance to Saturday’s second round where they’ll play the winner of Thursday’s late game between UCLA and Princeton.

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