2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament Recap
NCAA Tournament Second Round Recap - Michigan State vs Maryland
(5) Michigan State 85, (4) Maryland 83
Korie Lucious hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, capping a dramatic finish and sending Michigan State to the Sweet 16 with a thrilling win over Maryland in Spokane, Wash.
Durrell Summers carried the load offensively for the Spartans, shooting a ridiculous 6-for-7 beyond the arc and racking up 26 points. Raymar Morgan scored 17 on 7-for-11 shooting, and Lucious hit three treys, including the one that has already become legendary, and finished with 13 points.
A Spartan squad that had underachieved for most of the season brought its best effort of the year. For Coach Tom Izzo, it was the ninth second-round win in ten tries. Coincidence? Definitely not. Michigan State has the right formula: win loose balls, decisively out-rebound the opponent, hit threes at all the right moments, and make free throws.
The Spartans controlled the first 38 minutes of the game, limiting second-chance points and overcoming Maryland’s heavy fullcourt pressure despite the loss of floor general Lucas late in the first half to an Achilles tendon injury. Fate seemed to be slanted against Michigan State. Breaking the full-court press without your starting point guard? It didn’t seem possible. But for most of the day, the Spartans busted the press easily.
Michigan State led 48-39 at halftime thanks to a 25-11 rebounding margin. This must be why Izzo puts his team through the "War" drill, the infamous rebounding drill where players wear football pads. Maryland shot fairly well in the first half, but still trailed because of Michigan State's advantage on the boards.
The Spartans' edge held up for most of the second stanza. Michigan State seemed to be cruising when it took a 72-57 lead on a crossover step-back trey by Lucious with 8:40 left.
Yet, as the clock melted away, Maryland’s pressure started to pay off. After a Lucious basket gave the Spartans an 80-71 lead with 2:07 left, the Terps mounted a furious comeback, led by ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez, who finished with 26 points. Vasquez converted a three-point play with 1:53 to go, and Michigan State’s lead was trimmed to 80-74. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Vasquez forced a turnover and fed Sean Mosley for a layup to cut the Spartans' lead to four.
The Terps forced another turnover on the ensuing possession, and inbounded the ball down by four with 1:28 to play. Vasquez immediately nailed a three-pointer from the left corner, and Maryland trailed 80-79 after scoring eight unanswered points in 38 seconds. The Terps backed off of the press, but eventually forced a turnover in the halfcourt, earning a chance to take the lead.
Vasquez once again delivered, hitting a driving, one-handed bank shot with 38.7 seconds left to give Maryland an 81-80 lead, its first since early in the first half. Draymond Green answered for Michigan State, knocking down a 17-foot jump shot to put the Spartans back on top with 20 seconds to go.
Vasquez then responded with an amazing individual effort to restore the Terps’ lead. The ACC MVP walked the ball down the court himself, shook off Morgan with a back-and-forth-and-back-again crossover dribble, pulled off a spin move, elevated, and popped a buttery-soft jumper from about eight feet away that tickled the twine with 6.6 seconds remaining.
This awesome clutch performer deserved better than what happened next.
Green rushed the ball upcourt before getting the ball to the left wing with roughly three seconds remaining. Izzo thought about calling timeout, but didn't and when Morgan ducked a pass intended for Lucious near the top of the key, Sparty's fate rested in the hands of an erratic outside shooter. Lucious was straight and true on a shot that was released with one second left, and when it tickled twine, Michigan State had won one of the great games in this storied event, anywhere and anytime.
But that’s March Madness. It can be cruel.
Michigan State now must be considered a darkhorse national championship contender, even without Lucas. The Spartans will face Northern Iowa on Friday night in St. Louis. The Panthers upset top-ranked Kansas on Saturday night with a cold-blooded trey of their own. Ali Farokhmanesh nailed a three to put UNI ahead by four points with 34 seconds to play and seal the historic victory.
It's pointless to try to handicap this matchup on paper. Without Lucas, and with Chris Allen still hobbled, Michigan State is a different team. And who thought UNI had a snowball's chance in hell against mighty KU? It's impossible to pick a winner with any confidence whatsoever.
You've gotta love the Tournament.
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