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Spartans on heels from start to finish

DETROIT – Michigan State’s feel-good story ended with a thud.

The Spartans needed to play another sensational game just to have a chance against North Carolina on Monday night and they simply were awful.

The Tar Heels, of course, had a lot to do with that.

North Carolina set NCAA championship game records with 55 points in the first half and a 21-point lead en route to a 89-72 victory over Michigan State.

“I’m still proud of my guys,” former Spartans star and Hall of Fame guard Magic Johnson said, walking out of Ford Field with 3 1/2 minutes left. “They played five great games to get here, but they just couldn’t do it another time.

“It’s still been an amazing ride to just get to this point.”

The Spartans provided their depressed state with a temporary diversion from its economic woes by beating top-seeded teams Connecticut and Louisville to reach the title game.

“I think if we played as well as we did the last couple games, it would have been a game,” coach Tom Izzo said. “I felt bad for the fans, but don’t feel bad for our team. We had a heck of a year.”

Michigan State and its fans will wake up Tuesday with a dose of reality.

The Spartans weren’t good enough to beat North Carolina.

Goran Suton’s 3-pointer put the Spartans ahead 49 seconds into the game, then things went downhill.


Michigan State had twice as many turnovers (eight) as baskets (four) midway through the first half when it trailed 32-11.

“It was a blur,” guard Travis Walton said.

The Spartans missed wide-open shots, got outhustled for loose balls, seemed helpless on defense and were careless with the basketball.

They even struggled with uncontested attempts.

When Chris Allen missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Izzo slumped into a squat on the sideline and covered his face.

For Izzo and about 50,000 fans at Ford Field, it was tough to watch the Spartans.

Each time they gave their green-clad supporters a rare chance to cheer in the second half, such as when the deficit was cut to 13, a Tar Heel, usually Ty Lawson or Tyler Hansbrough, would quiet the crowd with timely shots.

Suton had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Durrell Summers scored 13 and Kalin Lucas added 14 points and seven rebounds for Michigan State.

Suton and Lucas earned spots on the all-Final Four team.

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

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