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THE BUTLER DID IT.....Butler 52, Michigan State 50, Sa 4/3/10
Posted on: 04-03-2010

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>>caption:  GREEN'S LAST FG TRY


    A local favorite has advanced
to the NCAA-D1 men's basketball
title game for a second straight
    Last year it was Michigan State at Detroit's Ford Field.
    This time it was hometown team Butler at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis
because the Bulldogs beat the MSU Spartans 52-50 in the Final Four semi-finals.  
    Tied 28-all at the half, then down by 7-P (MSU's biggest defecit of this year's
NCAA tournament) at 44-37, the Spartans scrapped back to 50-49 with 56-sec
left on a pair of Draymond Green free throws. However, when Green missed a
go-ahead try off-balance layup with 6.1-sec showing and no Butler foul was called
on Gordon Hayward's contact, MSU was forced to foul and lost the closing free
throw battle before Hayward grabbed the last rebound as time expired.  
    Already battered with Kalin Lucas sidelined by Achilles tendon surgery and
both Chris Allen (torn arch) and Delvon Roe (torn MCL) hobbled and headed toward
likely surgery, Michigan State was beaten physically by the inspired Bulldogs.
    State was slower than Butler and needed somebody to step up and take charge.
Nobody did.
    Green and Durrell Summers each had their moments, but neither could take over
the game when it was there for the taking. From Willie Veasley's dunk for the 7-P
Butler bulge until the second chance layup by Hayward with 1:36 to play, the
Bulldogs were begging to be beaten, going 11:02 without a field goal.
    Turnovers, a season-long problem for Michigan State, played a major factor again
with a 16-8 disadvantage. So did poor free throw shooting with Butler besting MSU
at the charity stripe by a 70.8% (17-of-24) to 55.6% (10-of-18) margin.
    Too many things went wrong for Michigan State to reach the NCAA Championship
game for a second straight spring and a third time in 11 years.
    Summers had 14-P and a game-high 10-RB. Korie Lucious,(who tweeked an ankle early)
added 12-P with a game-high 4-A, but was plagued by poor passing and a game-high 5-TOs.  
Green had 12-P with 6-RB and a co-game-high 2-BLK before fouling out in the closing
seconds. In foul trouble almost from the beginning, senior Raymar Morgan spent almost
half the game on the bench, never caught rhythm, and had just 4-P with 5-RB.
    Butler was led by Hayward's game-high 19-P, 9-RB and co-game-high 2-BLK. Shelvin
Mack was shelved much of the closing moments with leg cramps, but still scored 14-P.
    At 33-4 with 25 consecutive wins, Horizon LGE champ Butler will play Duke in
Monday's NCAA-D1 Final.
    Michigan State ends up 28-9.


MSU H-COACH TOM IZZO:   "'We didn't get it done. 'I thought the physical play
bothered us - that surprised me...it was one of the more physical games...Playing
in the Big Ten, that's a lot to say...I don't think you know how many injuries
we've had, what we've been going through. These guys for the most part did an
incredible, incredible job hanging in there....yet we put ourselves in a position
where I thought at the end we had a chance to take a shot and win a game. I
thought we did everything in our power to do that...I questioned some of the
way that last shot went. But in general, I take my hat off to Butler. They play as
hard as anybody we've played. They are physical. But they shoot 30%, we out-
rebound them, and we just couldn't find a way to win it...I'm pleased for Butler.
It's a great story. And I'm proud of my team. And I'm a little bit ticked off. So I
got all three emotions going my way."

MSU FWD DRAYMOND GREEN:   "Coach and my teammates had enough confidence
to come to me in the end of the game. I just felt if I went middle, you know, I had
an advantage on them with strength. I felt that if I didn't make a shot, I would get
fouled. Maybe I did get smacked. But on my behalf, I have to go stronger. I have to
go up to finish the shot and get fouled...I mean, the refs didn't make the call...
I mean, you just have to give credit to Butler. Give Hayward credit on that defensive
play. I just have to go up stronger."

MSU FWD RAYMAR MORGAN:   "It's disappointing. But my teammates did a great job
in trying to pick me up. Their effort was unbelievable for us to stay in the game and
have a chance to win and only lose by two. I wish them the best of luck next year."

MSU FWD DELVON ROE:   "We just couldn't get into a rhythm because we had too
many people in foul trouble. When you've got so many people in foul trouble, you can't
play as aggressively as you would like to on defense and even on offense, you're scared
to shove a guy or make a move, because you're afraid to make a foul.''

BUTLER H-COACH BRAD STEVENS:   "I never would have dreamed we would have won
if we shot 15 for 49. But our guys did a great job defending in the last 30 minutes of the
game. Really locked on, made it difficult...We had a lot of guys that had to and did a
great job. You know, this team and this program has been built on guys ready to come
in and contribute to the good of the team. It makes me proud to be their coach."

BUTLER FWD GORDON HAYWARD:   "I don't know if I got a piece of the ball, maybe a
piece of [Green's] arm...We've been talking about the next game all year, and it's great
to be able to say the next game's for a national championship...This is where we should be.
This is where we want to be. Just ready to go."


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