Michigan State's story concludes with ugly ending Print
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Monday, 06 April 2009 22:03
NCAAB Headline News


 DETROIT (AP) -Michigan State rode an emotional wave to the national championship game, building confidence by beating a pair of top-seeded teams and feeding off the energy of playing at home with a title at stake.
The Spartans and their fans will wake up Tuesday with a dose of reality.
Michigan State wasn't good enough to beat North Carolina. When the Spartans needed to be at their best, they played awful.
Period.
``We looked like a team that ran out of gas,'' coach Tom Izzo said.
North Carolina set NCAA championship game records with 55 first-half points and a 21-point lead at the break en route to a 89-72 victory over Michigan State.
ere, 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.
``I think if we played as well as we did the last couple games, it would've been a game,'' Izzo said. ``I felt bad for the fans but don't feel bad for our team. We had a heck of a year.''
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.
``We lost the game in the first 10 minutes when we turned the ball over and they hit pretty much every shot,'' Suton said.
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, Izzo slumped into a squat on the sideline and covered his face.
``I really thought we missed some shots, even the front ends of some 1-and-1s,'' Izzo said.
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.
Suton and Lucas earned spots on the all-Final Four team.
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 with only one inside the 3-point arc. And Raymar Morgan slipped back into a funk, making only one shot and grabbing only one rebound.
Even worse, Korie Lucious left being pushed in a wheelchair because of a foot injury.
``We heard something pop in there,'' Izzo said. ``It's probably nothing real good, but I don't know.''
For Izzo and the 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.
te guard Travis Walton said. ``They kind of gave the ball to Lawson or Hansbrough, and they made a great play.
``That's why they won the national championship.''
 

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