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C-HOOP.....Sa 4/4/09
Posted on: 04-05-2009

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>>caption:  MSU's SUMMERS DUNKS


    For the second consecutive NCAA
outing the Michigan State Spartans
beat a #1 regional seed from the Big
    For the second straight game MSU's
foes looked stunned as the Spartans
took control of a close contest in the
second half to win going away.
    In the Saturday opener of the
NCAA-D1 men's semi-finals State
delighted a home crowd with an 82-73 upset of Connecticut in Downtown Detroit.
    Off to a quick 9-2 start, ahead 38-36 at the half and with a second stanza
margin that grew to as many 11-P twice, MSU watched U-Conn make a last
run to get within a single possession at 74-71 with 1:07 remaining on a Stanley
Robinson dunk. Detroit Soph-GD Durrell Summers completed a 3-point play 7-sec
later to make it 77-71 for MSU, then Summers grabbed a rebound at the other
end on Connecticut's next shot try to key Michigan State's 8-2 closing burst.
    Summers was hot at the end after his slow start, but others help carry State's
load earn a spot in Monday night's Ford Field title game against North Carolina.
    Connecticut game planned to take Goran Suton (4-P) out of the contest offensively
and gave him only one shot in the 1st-H. With Suton not even getting a basket until
2:40 had elapsed in the 2nd-H, MSU instead turned to Raymar Morgan up front. Morgan,
more off than on this season, responded to a verbal challenge from head coach Tom
Izzo to score his personal tournament-high of 18-P with 11 coming in the 1st-H when
Suton was covered.
    Soph-GD Kalin Lucas had  game-high of 21-P  including 13-P after intermission.
Fr-GD Korie Lucious added 11-P, all in the opening half, including 3-of-3 on 3-point
attempts. Summers scored 10-P, all of them after the break. Fr-FWD Draymond
Green scored 8-P, all in the 2nd-H.       
    Connecticut had a balanced performance from their starters with four players
scoring in double figures. Hasheem Thabeet had 17-P, Robinson and A.J. Price both
scored 15-P and Jeff Adrien added 13-P. Robinson grabbed a game-high 13-RB.
    While U-Conn game planned for Suton, State game planned for Thabeet with an
up tempo pace that had the 7-foot-3 center sucking wind just 6-mins into the
contest and gasping for air thereafter. Out of his comfort zone, Thabeet still
got his team-high 17-P, but was not the factor on the boards (6-RB) he usually is.  
    Thus, the Spartans managed to deadlock the taller Huskies 42-42 in rebounds.
Charged with countering Thabeet on the glass, Suton out-rebounded U-Conn's
big man 7-6.
    A physical tussle just before halftime appeared to both frustrate U-Conn and
energize MSU.
    Depth was a factor as it has been all season for Michigan State with the Spartan
bench outscoring the Huskies reserves 33-7.
    U-Conn had ample opportunities to take command with repeated trips to
the charity stripe, a 33-20 advantage over MSU in foul shot attempts. However,
the Spartans went 14-for-20 (two of the misses in the closing seconds) while
the Huskies were 21-of-33.
    The Huskies and Coach Jim Calhloun lost for the first time when reaching the
Final Flour. The 82-P MSU scored were the most in an NCAA tourney game vs
U-Conn since Texas topped Connecticut 82-78 in the 2003 Sweet 16.  
    MSU plays on at 31-6 on the season. Connecticut concluded 31-5.


MSU H-COACH TOM IZZO:     "We thought we had depth over them. That's why we had
to run and wanted to run. We could run if we could rebound. We rebounded the ball
pretty well...I think one of the things that helped us in this game, our league is physical,
our league is tough, our league is good defensively. Purdue, Illinois, the way Michigan
played this year, Ohio State, Minnesota, I'm not going to name them all, but that helped
prepare us as much as anything for this tournament...(Morgan) was our best player...
We just had to go back and find a way to get him to remember it. I told him to watch
films of when he was playing good. I'm really happy for Raymar, as you can tell. I think
the rest of the guys are, too...It was a memorable game that I won't forget. Except
we've got another one...Detroit's been unbelievable to us. We've had some great games
here, and the best is yet to come."

MSU GD KALIN LUCAS:   "We just rebounded and we ran...(Morgan) came out hot, and he
played with a lot of confidence. He played aggressive and with confidence the whole game
...If we play our style of basketball, listen to coach and run, we can beat anyone...I saw
all those people (in the crowd) and I just said, 'We're gonna get it done.'"

MSU FWD RAYMAR MORGAN:   "I just had a lot to prove, and I wanted to come out and just
try to have a good game and get myself going a little bit,"

U-CONN H-COACH JIM CALHOUN:   "I said Raymar Morgan was a kid that I feared
was gonna bust out. Unfortunately, I was too much of a prophet...I've got a lot
of kids in there crying right now. But they had a great season...I give (Izzo) a
great deal of credit."

U-CONN FWD STANLEY ROBINSON:   "We couldn't get back and they're a good
team in transition. I just give them all the credit. They're a tough team."


    North Carolina beat Villanova 83-69 in the nightcap of the Final Four doubleheader
behind 22-P by Ty Lawson , 20 more from Wayne Ellington asnd 18 from Tyler
Hansbrough. Carolina has won its first five NCAA tourney games by 12-P or more.
    UNC defeated MSU at Ford Field in a 98-63 rout on 12/3/2008.


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