Michigan State had the depth and muscle, and coach Tom Izzo (search) finally has his win over Duke (search) and Coach K. Paul Davis scored 20 points and fifth-seeded Michigan State moved within a game of the Final Four with a 78-68 win over top-seeded Duke in the Austin Regional on Friday night.
Alan Anderson added 17 points, and the Spartans (25-6) sent wave after wave of defenders out to the perimeter to bottle up J.J. Redick, holding the Atlantic Coast Conference (search) player of the year to 13 points.
Davis provided the muscle in the middle late to give Izzo his first win over Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski in five tries — including a loss in the Final Four in 1999, the year before the Spartans won the national championship.
The loss ended Krzyzewski's bid for an 11th Final Four (search) with Duke (27-6).
Also on Friday, No. 1 seed North Carolina outlasted a strong showing from Villanova, 67-66, to advance to the regional finals.
For the men's bracket, click here.
Like most of their season, the Blue Devils had their "Big Three" of Redick, Daniel Ewing and Shelden Williams but little else when it counted against the Spartans, who substituted early and often in an effort to wear them down.
Williams scored 19 points, but fouled out with 2:41 left and Duke trailing by five. The tenacious Spartans defense forced 22 Duke turnovers and gave up little ground in the middle in the second half.
Redick had the toughest night with another sub-par NCAA tournament game, struggling just to get off a shot. He didn't take his first attempt until hitting a 10-footer with 10:17 left in the first half. By late in the half, he was shaking his head at the officials.
Williams had to pick up the slack, and the muscular forward pounded his way inside for 13 points as the teams went into halftime tied at 32.
The Spartans grabbed their first lead with an 8-0 run early in the second half. Anderson hit Michigan State's first 3-pointer, and Shannon Brown followed it with a layup and another 3-pointer from the left wing that made it 40-36 and forced Duke to call a timeout.
Anderson hit two more shots, and the Spartans appeared to have grabbed complete control when Maurice Ager soared over Redick for a spectacular tomahawk dunk and then pounded his chest with his fist.
The aggressive display seemed to ignite Redick, who immediately answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key and hit another that pulled Duke within 56-50 with 8:40 to play.
That's when the pace really picked up.
Duke appeared to pull within two when Williams grabbed the rebound off Redick's missed 3-pointer and went up for a two-handed dunk over the Spartans' Paul Davis. But the ball spun around in the net before popping back out, and the officials ruled it no basket.
Duke cut it to 66-63 when Ewing stripped the ball from Anderson and pulled up for a 3-pointer, but Williams fouled out 20 seconds later. Davis converted the 3-point play.
Trying to make a play on the other end, Redick dribbled into the lane and fired a pass between Ewing and Sean Dockery. Neither made a move to get it, and the ball sailed out of bounds.
The Spartans then sealed it with free throws, hitting six of six over the final minute to stretch the lead.
Notes:@ Duke didn't grab an offensive rebound until there was 6:28 left in the first half. ... Michigan State thought it had a 34-32 at halftime when Anderson stole the ball from Dockery and went in for a layup with 0.2 seconds left. But the officials disallowed the points when it was determined the clock hadn't started on Duke's inbounds pass before the steal.