Lucas, Spartans eliminate Jayhawks with late free throws
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|Michigan State's Goran Suton, left, Kansas' Cole Aldrich and Michigan State's Durrell Summers, right, battle for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA Midwest regional men's college basketball tournament semifinal game Friday, March 27, 2009, in Indianapolis. Michigan State won 67-62 and will play Louisville in Sunday's regional final. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)|
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Kalin Lucas couldn't shoot straight for 39 minutes. He made up for those misses in a hurry.
Lucas scored seven points in the final 49 seconds, including 5-for-5 on free throws, to help Michigan State rally for a 67-62 win over defending national champion Kansas Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
• Michigan State rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit, holding Kansas to 26 second-half points and advancing to the Elite 8.
• Tom Izzo improved to 23-3 as a higher seed in the NCAA tournament.
• The Spartan bench outscored Kansas 23 to 7.
• Goran Suton (20) and Kalin Lucas (18) were the only Spartans in double figures.
• Michigan State is 8-0 all time as a No. 2 seed.
• Sherron Collins led Kansas with 20.
-- ESPN research
Can Kalin Lucas, depth, help Michigan State hang with Louisville?
Lucas shot just 5-for-15 from the field, but his teammates remained confident in their floor leader, who was the Big Ten player of the year. Lucas was matched up with Kansas' Sherron Collins
, who scored 20 points but was thoroughly outplayed late in the game.
"You know, I think the type of person Kalin is, when he gets another big-time guard, he wants to kind of prove himself to the nation," Michigan State guard Travis Walton
said. "Today, I think he took it personal."Goran Suton
had a season-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds and five steals for Michigan State (29-6).
Michigan State's season was slipping away. But the Spartans did what they do best and are now 40 minutes away from Detroit, writes Pat Forde. Story
Michigan State overcame a 13-point deficit in the first half and advanced to play Louisville on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four. The top-seeded Cardinals defeated Arizona 103-64 earlier in the night.
"This year I've gone by feel. And sometimes I just feel sick, and it seems to work out," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo
The Spartans beat Kansas with fundamentals. The Spartans went 16 of 17 from the free throw line and committed just 13 turnovers.Cole Aldrich
had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Kansas (27-7). The Jayhawks responded to every Michigan State rally except the final one.
"It means so much to everybody," Aldrich said. "It's not just everybody in the locker room, it's everybody that puts on a KU shirt. Everybody is hit hard because we had our chances and we didn't capitalize on them."
Kansas came much closer to a repeat than many experts anticipated. Most of the stars from last year's run jumped to the NBA, and the Jayhawks have no senior starters.
"A bunch of young kids came in here and competed hard and weren't in awe of the atmosphere and the stakes," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "You know, we gave them a run. We just didn't finish the game."
Paint By The Numbers
Michigan State put a fence around the painted area in the second half against Kansas, limiting the Jayhawks to two points on just two attempts.
Kansas in the Paint vs. Michigan State
Kansas led 60-57 when Michigan State's Durrell Summers
was fouled. He made the first of two free throws, and the Spartans came up with the offensive rebound when he missed the second. Raymar Morgan
, who hadn't made a basket the entire game, dunked to tie it at 60 with 1:46 to play.
On Michigan State's next possession, Lucas spun, pump-faked in the lane, drew contact from Collins, then dropped in a shot. He made the free throw to put the Spartans ahead 63-60 with 48 seconds left.
"It wasn't a set play," Lucas said. "One thing, the shot clock was going down. That's all I tried to do, tried to create. I just got lucky and I got him with the bump and I scored."
Self said Lucas came through when no one did for the Jayhawks.
"If you look at that possession, and they let Lucas take the ball and try and create something in the middle," he said.
Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor
made two free throws with 32 seconds left, then Lucas came back with two at the other end to make it 65-62.
Collins was fouled with 20 seconds to play. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Michigan State came up with the ball. Lucas made two more free throws with 14.4 seconds left to seal the game.
Kansas led 36-29 at halftime, but Michigan State started strong after the break. Draymond Green
scored from in close and was fouled, and his 3-point play cut Kansas' lead to 40-39 just three minutes into the second half. Suton tied it at 42 on a 3-pointer with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Aldrich scored twice during a 6-0 run to put the Jayhawks up 48-42, but their lead didn't last. A pull-up jumper in the lane by Walton gave Michigan State a 51-49 edge, the Spartans' first advantage since the early minutes of the game.
Michigan State defeated Kansas 75-62 on Jan. 10 in East Lansing, Mich., after the young Jayhawks fell behind 37-18 at halftime.
This time, Kansas got off to the quick start. The Jayhawks took a 9-2 lead in the opening minutes, highlighted by a 3-pointer and a layup by Collins.
A dunk by Brady Morningstar
, the final basket during an 11-0 run over a four-minute span, gave Kansas a 26-16 lead.
The Jayhawks pushed their lead to 32-19 before the Spartans rallied late in the half. Michigan State chopped the lead to 34-27 before Aldrich hit a long 2-pointer from the top of the key with 18 seconds left in the half.
Suton appeared to make a long jumper as time expired in the first half, but the officials waved it off. After review, he was awarded the basket.
Kansas couldn't maintain that level of play, and its title reign ended.
"I'm probably not really feeling like reflecting right now, but I do think this: We weren't a very good basketball team early," Self said. "The guys really came together. They gave us a chance to be good. We had players step up all year long, and we really became a good team."