No. 2 Michigan St. 82, Chaminade 74

No. 2 Michigan St. 82, Chaminade 74

Published Nov. 23, 2010 5:23 a.m. ET

The shots were falling, even the wild ones. The score stayed close, and in their favor well into the second half.

Chaminade, architect of one monumental upset, had another one in its sights.

One problem: Michigan State didn't want any part of history.

Kalin Lucas had 28 points, Korie Lucious added 13 and the No. 2 Spartans prevented another Chaminade miracle by holding off the Silverswords 82-74 in the first round of the Maui Invitational Monday night.

''Chaminade played well today,'' Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. ''As you say in the NCAA tournament, it's about surviving and advancing.''

Chaminade (3-1) is best known for its 1982 win over top-ranked Virginia, still considered one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history.

Fearless against one of the nation's pre-eminent programs, the Silverswords were looking to add a bookend upset 28 years later, keeping the Spartans (3-0) on the ropes well into the second half.


Michigan State just wouldn't let it happen.

Faced with a piece of history they didn't want, the experienced Spartans managed to keep their composure amid Chaminade's emotions and runs. Michigan State kept it close into the second half, then went on a game-deciding run midway through to pull out a brow-wiping win that sends them into the semifinals against Connecticut.

''We'll need to play better against Connecticut,'' said Michigan State's Draymond Green, who had 10 points and 10 rebouinds.

Steven Bennett led Chaminade with 20 points and 11 assists. Shane Hanson hit five 3-pointers for his 15 points. Mamadou Diarra gave the Spartans fits inside, adding 16 points, 12 rebounds and blocked five shots.

The Silverswords matched Michigan State in nearly every statistical category. They just fell a little short in the one that matters most.

''We're obviously pretty happy with that,'' Chaminade coach Matt Mahar said. ''It's not easy to be happy after a loss, but they're an unbelievable team.''

Chaminade is loaded with shooters and has done the David-vs-Goliath thing once with its win over Ralph Sampson and the Cavaliers on these same islands. The Division II Silverswords haven't faced a team ranked this high since, though, and didn't figure to match up well with Michigan State.

The Spartans, coming off consecutive Final Fours, are as deep, talented and experienced as any team in the country, a popular pick to win a second national title under coach Tom Izzo.

A walkover waiting to happen, right?

Chaminade didn't think so.

The Silverswords weren't intimated by the big, bad Spartans at all, went right at them even.

Bennett, Chaminade's 5-foot-6 guard/blur, drove fearlessly to the lane to cast shots high off the glass over Michigan State's defenders, confidently stroked in 3-pointers from three feet and more behind the arc.

Diarra, the other half of Chaminade's big-and-tall combination, flicked in a couple of jump hooks, threw down a two-handed dunk and used his 7-foot reach to meet Adreian Payne and Summers at the rim for swats.

A little over halfway through the first half of this supposed blowout, Chaminade appeared ready to ring the upset bell again, leading 33-25 over the shellshocked Spartans.

Michigan State tried to put an end to this potential down-in-history nightmare. Lucious hit a pair of 3s, Lucas pulled up for jumpers and got to the rim, Green even launched himself airborne to steal an inbound pass.

Chaminade still wouldn't go away, answering every Spartans' run with a big 3-pointer or runner in the lane. Even when Diarra missed a rebound slam at the halftime buzzer, the Silverswords were giddy, racing out onto the floor for high-fives and slaps on the back after tying mighty Michigan State 39-all.

''That first half, when we were competing well, it made it more exciting in that moment,'' said Bennett, who hit 5 of 7 from 3-point range. ''We embraced it and wanted to come out and compete and play hard. It was a good feeling.''

It didn't end there.

The Silverswords weren't satisfied with a moral-victory halftime tie and opened the second half still firing, getting three 3-pointers from Hanson in the first 4 minutes to go up 50-45.

Then the Spartans hit the accelerator and ran over Chaminade's hopes.

Turning up the defensive pressure and getting out on the break, Michigan State followed with a 20-3 run, going up 69-53 on Lucas' fastbreak layup with 11 1/2 minutes left.

The Spartans flicked away any comeback attempts after that, leaving the court with a collective whew! after nearly joining Virginia on the Silverswords' upset list.

''We have some things that are concerns, but we're going to bounce back and play better tomorrow,'' Izzo said.

They'd better or there'll be another, perhaps maybe less dramatic, upset bid in the making.