Rapid Reaction: Michigan State pushes Duke to the limit with near upset in classic March Madness battle
Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski have combined for some classic battles in March throughout the years. On Sunday, they produced one final chapter in another thriller for the ages.
At one point, Izzo’s Michigan State squad was down by 9 points. The Spartans rallied, battling all the way back for a 5-point lead at 70-65. Unfortunately, Duke had a run of its own in-store behind a talent-laden squad.
The Blue Devils went on a 15-6 run to take an 80-76 lead with less than a minute remaining. The final minute would stretch on with some fouls and free-throws exchanged, but, in the end, it was Coach K’s Duke squad advancing to the Sweet 16 in his final season coaching. Duke finished off the win at 85-76.
Though the loss is a heartbreaker for Izzo and the Spartans, it was one of the more impressive performances for Michigan State in recent memory. Despite facing a more talented squad with a number of potential lottery picks, the Spartans hung around and nearly pulled off a gigantic upset.
In the loss, Michigan State was led by Gabe Brown who finished with 18 points and went 4-for-6 from 3-point range in an incredible shooting effort. Marcus Bingham Jr. chipped in 16 points and Tyson Walker added 13 points off the bench.
Their calling card for much of the season, Michigan State hit 11 shots from deep to keep it close all evening long. The Spartans also notched 5 blocks with 3 of those belonging to Bingham.
On the other side, Duke was led by Paulo Banchero with 19 points and 5 Blue Devils in double figures. Michigan State did limit Duke to 5-for-13 from 3-point range but was unable to lock down on defense inside the perimeter.
While Coach K’s last dance rolls on, Izzo and the Spartans will linger on one that slipped away after having the Hall of Fame coach on the ropes late in the second half.