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Sunday, Mar. 25 2:40pm ET
Temple's Chaney denied again


ATLANTA (AP) – Michigan State is going back to the Final Four, while John Chaney was denied again.

Michigan State's Aloysius Anagonye tries to get a shot off over Temple's Kevin Lyde .

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.

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