Michigan State center Adreian Payne became the first player in 10 years to break 40 points in an NCAA Tournament game with a staggering 10-15/4-5/17-17 shooting performance in a 93-78 victory over Deleware. The Blue Hens put up a game performance behind 21/3/4 from Davon Saddler, who answered the bell repeatedly for Deleware, but was no match for Payne and the similarly efficient Travis Trice, who posted 19 points on only 8 field goal attempts. Payne becomes the first player to eclipse the 40 point mark since Syracuse's Gerry McNamara dropped 43 on BYU in 2004. Payne outscored his teammates 23-21 in the first half, leading Michigan State to an 11 point lead which would never go under double digits in the second frame.
The Spartans move on to play the Harvard Crimson, upset winners from earlier today, in a 61-57 win over Cincinnati. Payne will look to continue his impressive streak against a Harvard team that doesn't play great interior defense. Another 40-plus point effort would put Payne in select company, and in the running to put himself among the all-time standout performers for scoring average, the leader for which is Austin Carr's 52.7 in 1970. This will certainly be a storyline to continue to watch as the tournament continues.