Late mistakes bring about Michigan State's first loss
The Detroit News
Lahaina, Hawaii -- Michigan State is still searching for a tournament title, and Kemba Walker is proving to the nation that he is a force to be reckoned with.
Walker scored 30 points and unranked Connecticut took advantage of No. 2 Michigan State's mistakes late to win 70-67 in the Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center on Tuesday.
"We just showed the world we can play," said Walker, who hit a key jumper with less than a minute left.
Connecticut will play in the championship game Wednesday against the winner of the Kentucky-Washington game played later on Tuesday. Michigan State (3-1) will play the loser of that game at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
"This is an absolute tremendous team win," Calhoun said.
Draymond Green missed four free throws in the final two minutes and Kalin Lucas threw the ball away late to lead to the loss. Green got off a half-court shot at the buzzer, but it missed.
"I'm very disappointed with the way we finished," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "We had some things that just didn't work out way."
After Michigan State led 61-55 with 9:07 to play, Connecticut went on an 11-0 run to take a 66-61 lead with 5:24 to play. But Green brought the Spartans right back, hitting three straight free throws to make it 66-64 before feeding Garrick Sherman for a hook shot that tied the score at 66 with 3:40 to play.
Green made one free throw to put Michigan State up 67-66 before Walker hit what proved to be the winner with 53 seconds left. Michigan State was held scoreless for the final 2:35.
"Basically it falls on my shoulders," Green said.
Midway through the second half, Green and Walker began a personal 3-pointer battle. Green's first put MSU up 55-49 before Walker came back to make it 55-52. Green fired back 30 seconds later to make it 58-52 before Walker cashed in again, making it 58-55.
Lucas joined in at that point, hitting his first 3-pointer to make it 61-55.
The first half was the physical matchup that many expected. Each team had eight fouls and 23 rebounds.
Walker was everything expected for Connecticut, scoring 14 first-half points and feeding Shabazz Napier for a 3-pointer at the buzzer that sent the game to halftime tied at 34.
The Spartans were sloppy on offense but got balanced scoring. Summers and Green had eight points each and Lucas scored seven. The Spartans did, however, give up eight offensive rebounds to Connecticut's Alex Oriakhi.
"I thought it was an NCAA tournament game or a Big East tournament game