That was the last straw for Michigan State, as Kansas put all the pieces together and showed why it was one of the nation’s best teams throughout the season. It appeared that MSU had run out of time and that the season was shortly coming to an end. Devonte Graham always makes the big shot, a la Mario Chalmers.
Little of it was used in what chatter was exchanged on the floor Sunday when he opposed several friends on the team he grew up cheering in his Detroit home.
MSU’s only score in that span was a layup from Ward and after that, the Spartans went scoreless for over two minutes. Landen boarded nine rebounds by the half and helped the Jayhawks outscore MSU in the paint for the half, 16-14. Will that lead to a letdown, or is it the start of another run? Four future National Basketball Association players, their bodies worth millions of dollars, playing with reckless abandon. The Spartans average 71.9 points per game on offense now while allowing just 68.1 per game on defense.
That, according to several Kansas players, made the 20-point victory that much sweeter. So I appreciate that and we’re going to sit down this week and try to figure out roughly where he’s at.
“But I’m not going to sit here and say the loss doesn’t hurt, but there’s a lot of worse things happening to people than losing a basketball game, so you have to keep that in perspective”, says Junior MSU guard Tum Tum Nairn. Kansas head coach Bill Self took a full timeout after the play so the Jayhawks could regroup. “So we’re all excited”, said senior guard Frank Mason.
“The final margin didn’t dictate what a hard game it was”, he said, per Bobby Nightengale of the Lawrence Journal-World.
Mason finished with 20 points (8 of 8 from the line) and five assists against no turnovers on a night freshman guard Josh Jackson led all scorers with 23 points. “When they cut to one, we played our best ball”.
MI finished 6 of 17 on 3-pointers just two days after setting a school record for 3-pointers in NCAA tourney games. “So it was just really fun to be able to go out there and play against those guys and really proud to see them here and having success”. The key: The play of the fabulous freshmen led by Miles Bridges.
The Jayhawks closed the game on a 36-17 run.
And while Lagerald Vick’s technical foul seemed to be flimsy, Self allowed as how he must have “lost his mind there for a little bit”, or it wouldn’t have been called. What followed was a play reminiscent of Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, if not directly inspired by them.
How to listen: You can listen to the game on AM 950, WWJ beginning at 12:10 p.m. or on Sirius XM Channel 134, Sirius Internet 961.
Kansas (30-4) advances to Thursday’s regional semifinal against Purdue at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Eighth-seeded Wisconsin took out No. 1 overall seed and defending national champion Villanova in a second-round game Saturday, and No. 7 MI ousted No. 2 Louisville on Sunday.
If the Boilermakers have any chance of pulling off the upset, Swanigan, a double-double machine, has to come up big on both ends of the court.