In a game played in front of about 70,000 rabidly partisan Spartan fans in Detroit (and roughly a couple dozen Husky fans), Michigan State outran, outmuscled, and outhustled UConn en route to an 82-73 victory. The leading scorer for the Spartans was Kalin Lucas with 21 points, but every time we looked up, Durrell Summers was making one big play after another, like a ferocious dunk in transition that capped a decisive 17-7 run.
UConn hung tough, to say the least; the teams battled to a 49-49 draw midway through the second half. But shoddy play at the line and on the glass doomed the Huskies, who had looked like (arguably) the most impressive team in the tournament up to that point. We would go on, but you just want to watch Summers dunk in Stanley Robinson’s face, don’t you? Video, courtesy of THE HOOP DOCTORS, is after the break.
“Ford Field is shaking,” Jim Nantz says. Memorable words by a man who probably feared losing his life in a massive building collapse.
UConn’s offense couldn’t handle the Spartans’ stifling, opportunistic defense. The Huskies registered just eight assists on 25 buckets, while they gave the ball up 16 times. That, plus A.J. Price shooting only 5-20 from the field and Kemba Walker’s disastrous 3-9 performance at the line, was too much for UConn to overcome. The turnovers were especially lethal; few teams perform as well in transition as Michigan State, and that Summers dunk came off of one of Raymar Morgan’s five steals.
So now it’s a home game for the title later this week for Tom Izzo and Michigan State. Postseason prospects aside, the road looks much bleaker for UConn and Jim Calhoun; now that there’s no more Final Four to distract fans, all the attention can be focused on what promises to be a tempestuous investigation into questionable recruiting practices. Fun! Exciting! Resign-tastic!