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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
March 26, 1979: Magic, Spartans cage Bird
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

In the first meeting of two legends, Magic Johnson wins both the battle and the war against Larry Bird. Magic scores a game-high 24 points as Michigan State cages Bird and his Indiana State teammates, 75-64, in the NCAA final.

Magic also grabs seven rebounds and has five assists as he controls the game from the beginning.

The loss is the first for Indiana State after 33 victories, and the point total is a season low. With Michigan State (26-6) using a 2-3 matchup zone defense, Bird is held to 19 points, shooting just 7-for-21 from the field, and has six turnovers and only two assists. When the game's over, Bird cries, a towel pressed to his face.

Magic, a sophomore, wins the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player award, while Bird, a senior, was the College Player of the Year. This will be the last college game for both players, who will continue their rivalry in the NBA.

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