Michigan State's story ends with an ugly ending Print
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Monday, 06 April 2009 18:03
NCAAB Headline News


 DETROIT (AP) -Michigan State's feel-good story ended with a thud.
The Spartans needed to play another sensational game just to have a chance against North Carolina on Monday night and they simply were awful.
The Tar Heels, of course, had a lot to do with that.
North Carolina set NCAA championship game records with 55 points and a 21-point lead en route to a 89-72 victory over Michigan State.
``I'm still proud of my guys,'' former Spartan and Hall of Fame guard Magic Johnson said, walking out of Ford Field with 3 1/2 minutes left. ``They played five great games to get here, but they just couldn't do it another time.
``It's still been an amazing ride to just get to this point.''
The Spartans provided their depressed state with a temporary diversion from its economic woes by beating top-seeded teams Connecticut and Louisville to reach the title game.
uesday with a dose of reality. Michigan State wasn't good enough to beat North Carolina.
Goran Suton's 3-pointer put the Spartans ahead 49 seconds into the game, then things went downhill.
Fast.
Michigan State had twice as many turnovers (eight) as baskets (four) midway through the first half when it trailed 32-11.
The Spartans missed wide-open shots, got outhustled for loose balls, seemed helpless on defense and were careless with the basketball.
They even struggled with uncontested attempts.
When Chris Allen missed the front end of a 1-and-1, coach Tom Izzo slumped into a squat on the sideline and covered his face.
For Izzo and about 50,000 fans at Ford Field, it was tough to watch the Spartans.
Each time they gave their green-clad supporters a rare chance to cheer in the second half, such as when the deficit was cut to 13, a Tar Heel, usually Ty Lawson or Tyler Hansbrough, would quiet the crowd with timely baskets or free throws.
The second-seeded Spartans reached the championship game with contributions from a lot of players, but just a few of them played well in the biggest game of their lives.
Suton had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Durrell Summers scored 13 and Kalin Lucas added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Lucas, though, had so much trouble quarterbacking his team on offense that he once threw a pass that landed square on Lawson's back and led to North Carolina padding its considerable cushion with a Wayne Ellington dunk.
That was one of 21 turnovers that led to 25 points for North Carolina.
Super substitute Allen missed all eight of his attempts - only one inside the 3-point arc - and Raymar Morgan slipped back into a funk, making only one shot and grabbing only one rebound.
After the Spartans walked off the court with their head down, teammate Korie Lucious was pushed in a wheelchair because of a foot injury.
 

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