Michigan State Edges Trojans in NCAA Tournament
March 22, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS - Travis Walton scored a career-high 18 points to lift the second-seeded Spartans to a 74-69 victory over 10th-seeded USC on Sunday in the Midwest Regional, putting Michigan State in the round of 16 for the eighth time in 12 years.
Durell Summers added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Spartans (28-6), who have advanced to the regional semifinals more times in the last dozen years than any team besides Duke.
They'll play third-seeded Kansas on Friday in Indianapolis.
Raymar Morgan calls Michigan State's backcourt of Walton and Big Ten player of the year Kalin Lucas 'Fire and Ice,' with Lucas providing the heat on offense and Walton cooling down the opposing team's top perimeter threat on the other end of the floor.
Walton hadn't scored in double figures since he had 11 against Kansas on Jan. 10. But with the offense sputtering and the Trojans attacking, the senior could not have picked a better time to come through.
Floyd worried that the lack of depth - three Trojans played all 40 minutes and star Taj Gibson played 36 against Boston College - would hinder them against Michigan State, which goes 10 deep. Gibson fouled out with 5:38 to play, but the Trojans showed plenty of California cool even without their leader on the floor.
Lewis scored six straight points for the Spartans, including two free throws that tied the game at 69 with less than 4 minutes to go.
Walton drilled his third tie-breaking jumper of the final 10 minutes on the other end. After Daniel Hackett lost the ball on a drive to the basket, Nikola Vucevic was whistled for a questionable foul on Goran Suton. Suton made both free throws for a 73-69 lead with 1:19 to go.
Lewis and Hackett missed 3-pointers on the other end and the Trojans missed their final nine shots from the field to help the Spartans survive.
After going a perfect 10-for-10 with 24 points and six rebounds in the Trojans' opening-round victory over BC on Friday, Gibson scored just three points with no rebounds and five blocks in 23 minutes.