Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Defensive star’s career-high 18 points lift Mich. State over USC

The Kansas bench reacts to play in the final minutes of a 60-42 victory over Dayton on Sunday in Minneapolis. The Jayhawks take on the Michigan State Spartans on Friday in Indianapolis.

The Kansas bench reacts to play in the final minutes of a 60-42 victory over Dayton on Sunday in Minneapolis. The Jayhawks take on the Michigan State Spartans on Friday in Indianapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS – There is an impressive statistic that has been building over time in East Lansing, Mich., one that Michigan State coach Tom Izzo treasures above all others.

In the last 12 years, every Spartan who has stayed for four years has appeared in a Final Four.

Thanks to an unexpected scoring binge from senior Travis Walton, who has yet to step on to college basketball’s biggest stage, Michigan State still has a chance to keep that streak going.

The Big Ten’s defensive player of the year scored a career-high 18 points to lift the second-seeded Spartans to a 74-69 victory over 10th-seeded USC on Sunday in the Midwest Regional, putting Michigan State in the round of 16 for the eighth time in 12 years.

“There’s no question that of all the players on our team, Travis wants to keep playing probably more than anybody,” Izzo said. “He’s the only recruit in those years that has been here four years that hasn’t gone to a Final Four. And I think that drives him.”

He entered the game averaging 4.9 points and was shut out against Robert Morris in the first round. So even his coach couldn’t believe it when he went 8 for 13 on Sunday.

“I was shocked that he did make some of those shots. There are certain times when guys just step up and do heroic things,” Izzo said.

Durell Summers added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Spartans (28-6), who have advanced to the regional semifinals more times in the last dozen years than any team besides Duke.

They’ll play third-seeded Kansas on Friday in Indianapolis. The Spartans beat the Jayhawks 75-62 on Jan. 10 in East Lansing.

Dwight Lewis scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 18 points for USC (22-13), which is looking like more than just a football school under coach Tim Floyd.

The upstart Trojans, who had just 12 NCAA Tournament victories in the program’s history before Floyd arrived four years ago, gave the tourney-tested Spartans all they could handle.

Even with star forward Taj Gibson rendered ineffective by foul trouble and Goran Suton, there were 16 ties and 14 lead changes in a game that wasn’t decided until the final minute.

“I loved the heart and spirit we played with against one of the elite programs in the country,” Floyd said.

No. 3 Kansas 60, No. 11 Dayton 43: At Minneapolis, Cole Aldrich posted a triple-double with 13 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocked shots to lead defending champion Kansas (27-7).

The 6-foot-11 Jayhawks sophomore nearly matched the NCAA tournament record for blocks in a game of 11 set by Shaquille O’Neal for LSU in 1992. Shawn Bradley had 10 in 1991 for BYU.

East Regional

No. 1 Pittsburgh 84, No. 8 Oklahoma State 76: At Dayton, Ohio, Sam Young scored 32 points and DeJuan Blair added another double-double as Pittsburgh advanced to the round of 16 for the fifth time in eight years.

Obi Muonelo scored 19 points for the Cowboys (23-12), who gave the Panthers all they could handle before losing their touch in the final minutes. Oklahoma State made 10 three-pointers in the first half but made only two of 12 from long range after halftime.

No. 4 Xavier 60, No. 12 Wisconsin 49: At Boise, Idaho, B.J. Raymond scored 15 points and Xavier finally broke through Wisconsin’s defense midway through the second half.

The Musketeers (27-7) struggled as the Badgers controlled the pace for the first 30 minutes. Xavier pulled away with a 13-4 run and hung onto the lead from the foul line.

West Regional

No. 3 Missouri 83, No. 6 Marquette 79: At Boise, Idaho, Kim English came off the bench to “pinch shoot” for the hurting J.T. Tiller and made two free throws with 5.5 seconds left to lift the Tigers.

It was quite an encore for English, who scored 15 points during one 4 1/2 minute stretch in the first half and helped third-seeded Mizzou (30-6) turn a six-point deficit into a 16-point lead.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service