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Lucas breaks out late for Michigan State in win over Kansas

Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas celebrates the Spartans' 67-62 victory over Kansas in the Sweet 16 on Friday.

Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas celebrates the Spartans' 67-62 victory over Kansas in the Sweet 16 on Friday.

INDIANAPOLIS – Kalin Lucas couldn’t shoot straight for 39 minutes. He made up for those misses in a hurry.

Lucas scored seven points in the final 49 seconds, including going 5 for 5 on free throws, to help Michigan State rally for a 67-62 win over defending national champion Kansas on Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

Lucas shot just 5 for 15 from the field, but his teammates remained confident in their floor leader, who was the Big Ten player of the year. Lucas was matched up with Kansas’ Sherron Collins, who scored 20 points but was thoroughly outplayed late in the game.

“You know, I think the type of person Kalin is, when he gets another big-time guard, he wants to kind of prove himself to the nation,” Michigan State guard Travis Walton said. “Today, I think he took it personal.”

Goran Suton had a season-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds and five steals for Michigan State (29-6).

Michigan State overcame a 13-point deficit in the first half and advanced to play Louisville on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four. The top-seeded Cardinals defeated Arizona 103-64 earlier in the night.

“This year I’ve gone by feel. And sometimes I just feel sick, and it seems to work out,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

The Spartans beat Kansas with fundamentals. The Spartans went 16-for-17 from the free throw line and committed just 13 turnovers.

Cole Aldrich had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Kansas (27-7). The Jayhawks responded to every Michigan State rally except the final one.

“It means so much to everybody,” Aldrich said. “It’s not just everybody in the locker room. It’s everybody that puts on a KU shirt. Everybody is hit hard because we had our chances and we didn’t capitalize on them.”

Kansas came much closer to a repeat than many experts anticipated. Most of the stars from last year’s run jumped to the NBA, and the Jayhawks have no senior starters.

“A bunch of young kids came in here and competed hard and weren’t in awe of the atmosphere and the stakes,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “You know, we gave them a run. We just didn’t finish the game.”

Kansas led 36-29 at halftime, but Michigan State started strong after the break, and eventually tied it at 42 with 15 minutes remaining.

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