ATLANTA (AP) Michigan State is going back to the Final Four,
while John Chaney was denied again.
The defending national champion Spartans became just the ninth
school to reach three straight Final Fours, beating Chaney's
unheralded Temple team 69-62 Sunday to win the NCAA South Regional.
David Thomas scored 19 points and Michigan State held off
repeated runs by the 11th-seeded Owls to earn a meeting in
Minneapolis with either Illinois or Arizona.
The 69-year-old Chaney was coaching in a regional final for the
fifth time, but he has never taken a team to the Final Four. The
Owls (24-13) were never expected to get this far, beating three
higher-seeded teams before their amazing run ended.
After tracking a last-ditch, but meaningless, shot all the way
to the rim, Chaney patted Michigan State coach Tom Izzo on the
shoulder and walked off the floor alone.
It always takes a powerhouse to keep Chaney out of the Final
Four. In his five regional finals, the Owls have lost to a No. 2
seed and four No. 1s, including the Spartans (28-4).
Michigan State's streak of nine straight double-figure victories
in the NCAA Tournament ended, but the Spartans accomplished a goal
that seemed improbable after losing stars Mateen Cleaves and Morris
Peterson from its title team.
Izzo's players were serenaded with chants of "One More Year!
One More Year!" as they cut down the nets. The biggest cheers were
reserved for Izzo, the former graduate assistant from Michigan's
Upper Peninsula who has the highest tournament winning percentage
of any active coach.
Temple, whose band played the "Rocky" theme in the waning
minutes in hopes of inspiring a miracle, fell behind 6-0 at the
beginning and never caught up.
But the Spartans didn't seal the victory until Thomas hit a
3-pointer with 1:01 remaining for a 65-57 lead. Freshman Zach
Randolph denied Temple with yeoman work on the offensive boards,
grabbing two rebounds that set up key points for Michigan State
down the stretch.
The nation's top rebounding team lived up to its billing with a
43-27 advantage over the Owls, who hit only 38 percent from the
field and were often limited to one shot and out. Randolph had 14
rebounds and Andre Hutson 10; no Temple player had more than eight.
Send this story to a friend
|Michigan State's Aloysius Anagonye tries to get a shot off over Temple's Kevin Lyde .|
Men's College Basketball Scoreboard
Michigan State Clubhouse