Michigan State Takes Down Top Seeded Duke In NCAA Regional Final, 68-67
The Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team took its next step in program legacy Sunday evening, defeating the top-seeded Duke Blue devils in the NCAA Basketball Tournament East Regional Final, 68-67. With the victory, MSU moves on to the Final Four in Minneapolis next weekend.
This will be the tenth appearance in the Final Four in program history, and the eighth trip under Head Coach Tom Izzo. The win over Duke also marks the second time an Izzo coached Spartan squad has beaten Duke, with the other also coming in the NCAA Tournament back in 2005.
Senior forward Kenny Goins made what would turn out to be the game-winning basket with just over 30 seconds to play in the game, knocking down a big three-point basket, drawn up perfectly during a Michigan State timeout. The basket gave MSU a 68-66 lead. Duke's R.J. Barrett was fouled on the other end of the floor with five seconds left in the game. Barrett would miss the front end of two free throws; number two was designed to be a miss that actually went in. With MSU up 68-67, and Duke no where near the foul limit to send a Spartan to the free throw line, Cassius Winston was able to get a second inbound pass and run out the clock after an initial foul attempt by the Blue Devils.
Michigan State forced 17 Duke turnovers, while only giving the ball away seven times. Winston led the team in scoring with 20 points and 10 assists. Xavier Tillman had a fantastic defensive game and also had 19 points and nine rebounds in the win. Goins finished with 10 points.
Zion Williamson led Duke with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Barrett finished with 21 points, six assists, and six rebounds. Javin DeLaurier had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Also pointing to the importance of turning the Blue Devils over 17 times, MSU had 70 field goal attempts to Duke's 53. The Spartans scored 24 points off of the Duke turnovers, and didn't allow the Blue Devils any points on fast breaks, their bread and butter.
MSU now faces Texas Tech in the national semifinal Saturday in the late game around 8:47 PM from the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.