When Payne dropped 41 points on Delaware on Thursday afternoon to lead Michigan State to a 93-78 victory in the tournament, it wasn't enough to earn Payne a spot among the top-20 individual scoring performances in tournament history. But it was the highest point total by one player in March Madness in 10 years, dating back to Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara scoring 43 points in a win over BYU in 2004. It also was a career-best for Payne and a Michigan State record in the tournament.
Austin Carr holds the NCAA tournament record for single-game scoring for his 61-point performance for Notre Dame against Ohio State in 1970. Carr actually holds three of the top-five performances. He also scored 52 twice, once in 1970 and again in 1971.
Payne was remarkably efficient Thursday, scoring 41 points on just 15 field-goal attempts. He made 10 of those shots, including four of five 3-pointers. He also set a tournament record making 17 of 17 free throws, surpassing the record of 16-for-16 held by Bill Bradley and Fennis Dembo.
Fourth-seeded Michigan State moves on to the round of 32 where it will face No. 12 seed Harvard, which pulled off the upset over No. 5 seed Cincinnati on Thursday.
Payne is averaging 15.8 points per game this season. His previous high for the season was 33 against Texas on Dec. 21. He missed seven games because of a foot injury in January and early February.
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