Duke & Michigan State Complete 2015 Final Four Field
Duke and Michigan State won NCAA regional finals on Sunday to join Kentucky and Wisconsin in a powerhouse-laden Final Four field. Since I have a family member that went to Michigan State, I have to root for them.
South Regional Final: Duke 66, Gonzaga 52
Justise Winslow and Matt Jones each scored 16 points, and Duke beat Gonzaga, 66-52, in the South Regional final of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Houston on Sunday. The top-seeded Blue Devils advanced to their first Final Four since 2010 and 16th in the program’s storied history.
Duke led 31-26 at halftime, but fell behind the second-seeded Bulldogs, 38-34, less than 4 minutes into the second half. That’s when the Blue Devils went on a 9-0 run and then kept the lead for good.
Freshman Tyus Jones added 15 points and Jahlil Okafor scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds for Duke (33-4). Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski clinched his 12th Final Four trip, tying legendary UCLA coach John Wooden for the most in NCAA history.
Duke advanced to face East Regional champ Michigan State in the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis next Saturday. The Blue Devils made it to Sunday’s final by beating fifth-seeded Utah on Friday.
Gonzaga came up a game short of its first Final Four appearance. Kyle Wiltjer had 16 points for the Bulldogs, who reached the regional final by defeating 11th-seeded UCLA in the Sweet 16 round on Friday.
East Regional Final: Michigan State 76, Louisville 70 (OT)
Bryn Forbes scored five of his 14 points in overtime, and Michigan State beat Louisville, 76–70, in the East Regional final of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Syracuse on Sunday. With the win, the seventh-seeded Spartans joined Wisconsin as the second Big Ten Conference team to reach the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis next Saturday.
Though they trailed 40-32 at halftime, Michigan State went on a 10-0 run midway through the second half to take a 57-51 lead. The Spartans seemed to be cruising to victory when the fourth-seeded Cardinals mounted a late rally. Wayne Blackshear scored five of his game-high 28 points in the final two minutes of regulation to lead the Louisville comeback.
Cardinals forward Mangok Mathiang tied the game, 65-65, on a free throw with five seconds to play. However, he missed his second foul shot, and Michigan State’s Travis Trice missed a subsequent three-point attempt, sending the game to overtime.
Forbes hit a three-point shot to start the extra session and the Spartans never trailed again. Trice scored 17 points to lead Michigan State (27-11). Teammate Denzel Valentine had 15 points and seven rebounds.
The Spartans will play the winner of Sunday’s South Regional final between Duke and Gonzaga next Saturday at the Final Four in Indianapolis. Michigan State advanced to Sunday’s final by upsetting third-seeded Oklahoma on Friday. They previously knocked off second-seeded Virginia and 10th-seeded Georgia.
Montrezl Harrell had 16 points and nine rebounds for Louisville (27-9), which was looking to make its third trip to the Final Four in four years. The Cardinals reached the regional final by defeating eighth-seeded N.C. State in the Sweet 16 round.