Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn played the final game of his collegiate career yesterday with the Michigan State Spartans.
Much like the rest of the season, Nairn played a reduced role, logging just two minutes in a 55-53 loss to No. 11 ranked Syracuse, the last team selected for the field of 68.
Nairn and the third-seeded Spartans came in as heavy favorites to move on to the round of 16. However, Syracuse used a last minute, second-half run to secure a place in the “Sweet 16”.
Sophomore guard Cassius Winston had a chance to win the game for the Spartans with a 45-foot heave before the buzzer but came up short. The Spartans offense crumbled in Syracuse’s zone, going scoreless in the final 5:41.
Syracuse took the lead with 4:22 left for the first time since it was ahead 14-12. The Orange held onto slim leads because they forced the Spartans to miss their last 13 shots.
Tyus Battle led the way for Syracuse with 17, while Cassius Winston paced the Spartans with 15.
Despite coming up short, Nairn said he wouldn’t change a thing about his time at MSU.
“In my freshman year we had a pretty close-knit group and I didn’t think it could get any better, but somehow, every year things got better,” Nairn said following the Syracuse game.
“I’m so blessed and thankful to be a part of a team like this. It was something I couldn’t even dream of. It is more to life than losing a game of basketball. I’m going to remember this, but I’m also going to remember everything I did and was able to do with this program.
“You always grow a lot from adversity and because of that, we we’re able to really grow as people this year.”
Nairn averaged just 1.8 points and three assists per game this year with MSU. After starting at point guard for the past three seasons, Nairn came off the bench for the first time this season, backing up Winston.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo said he would forever be grateful to Nairn for the poise he showed adjusting to the change as a senior.
“I’m so impressed with the fact that ‘Tum’ took Cassius under his wing like he did when it was the guy who replaced him, for God’s sake. But that’s typical ‘Tum’.”
Nairn had the best season of his collegiate career as junior, where he averaged 3.5 points and 3.6 assists per game.