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Spartans' elation tempered

Michigan State’s Korie Lucious, who had stepped in for injured star Kalin Lucas, launches his winning last-second 3-pointer.

Associated Press

Michigan State’s Korie Lucious, who had stepped in for injured star Kalin Lucas, launches his winning last-second 3-pointer.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The celebration was barely over and already Michigan State had to start thinking about life in the NCAA Tournament without injured Kalin Lucas.

Korie Lucious, filling in for the star guard, hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cap a frenetic finish and give the depleted Spartans an 85-83 victory over Maryland on Sunday in the second round of the Midwest Region.

After Lucas went down with a leg injury, the Spartans blew a 16-point lead in the second half. Greivis Vasquez's basket put Maryland ahead 83-82 with six seconds left, but Michigan State inbounded immediately and Draymond Green pushed the ball up the floor.

Green passed to Lucious at the top of the key. He dribbled once and launched the winner as time expired, setting off a wild celebration as jubilant Spartans players streamed off the bench.

"I had an open look. Time was running down. I just shot it and it went in," Lucious said. "I didn't want the time to go out without getting a shot up."

No. 5 seed Michigan State plays ninth-seeded Northern Iowa on Friday in St. Louis. The Panthers pulled off the most stunning upset of the tournament Saturday, beating top-seeded Kansas 69-67.

"I think I'm just going to enjoy this today and I'll worry about Northern Iowa tomorrow morning," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "This is going to be the 24-hour rule. We're going to enjoy this."

But the Spartans probably have lost Lucas, their floor leader.

Moments after the victory, Izzo revealed that the junior guard likely has a torn Achilles' tendon. That would make it almost impossible for him to play in the round of 16, or beyond.

"That poor kid, he was devastated," Izzo said. "It's a shame for him. But it's part of athletics and we're just going to have to move on."

Izzo added that the diagnosis was not definite because Lucas had yet to have an X-ray or MRI exam, "but the prognosis is 85 percent of that."

A two-time all-Big Ten selection, Lucas got hurt with 2:28 left in the first half and did not return. He came back to the bench with 12½ minutes to play wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sweat pants, and with a walking boot on his left foot and ankle.

Lucas had a career-high 25 points in a first-round victory over New Mexico State.

Durrell Summers had 26 points Sunday for the Spartans (26-8), who also played without starting guard Chris Allen (foot) for most of the game. Summers had by far his best NCAA Tournament performance in 11 outings.

Vasquez led the fourth-seeded Terrapins (24-9) with 26 points. He sparked their late comeback by scoring nine of their final 11 in the last two minutes.

Lucious, a sophomore, matched his season high with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Maryland's locker room was closed for awhile after the game. When it opened, many players had red eyes from crying.

"We did a good job,'' Vasquez said. "We didn't give up."

OHIO ST. 75, GA. TECH 66: Evan Turner shook off one of the worst shooting nights of his career by coming within an assist and a rebound of his third triple double of the season, and the second-seeded Buckeyes outlasted the foul- and turnover-plagued Yellow Jackets in Milwaukee.

Turner, a leading contender for national player of the year, had 24 points.

"The better he plays," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said, "the better we play."

Jon Diebler had 20 points and David Lighty 18 for Ohio State (29-7), which faces sixth-seeded Tennessee on Friday in St. Louis.

ACC freshman of the year Derrick Favors, who played five minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls, keyed an 11-0 run that cut Ohio State's lead to 65-61 with 1:47 left. Turner made two free throws and Lighty hit two after an intentional foul, and Georgia Tech (23-13) never threatened again.

Spartans' elation tempered 03/21/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 21, 2010 7:51pm]
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