Neitzel lifts Spartans over Longhorns
New York, NY (Sports Network) – Drew Neitzel’s finger-roll with 2.4 seconds
left propelled the Michigan State Spartans to a 63-61 upset over the 19th-
ranked Texas Longhorns in the semifinal round of the Coaches vs. Cancer
With the score knotted at 61, Neitzel crossed over his defender at the top of
the key, sliced down the lane through two Longhorns and lifted a finger roll
through the hoop for the final score.
Damion James then threw the ball away on the inbound pass, but Texas coach
Rick Barnes had called timeout just prior for a second chance. The Longhorns
got the ball to A.J. Abrams as play resumed, but he came up just short on a
game-winning three-point attempt as the clock expired.
“Give him [Neitzel] credit, he did a heck of a job,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo
said. “He busted right through. I think they were worried about a shot and
they were pretty spread apart.”
Michigan State faces Maryland for the championship on Friday night at Madison
Square Garden, as the Terrapins beat St. John’s 92-60 in the earlier
Raymar Morgan scored 18 points for Michigan State (4-0), which won its first
three games of the season to earn the spot in the semifinal round. Most
recently, the Spartans rolled to a 73-41 romp over The Citadel. Neitzel netted
15 points and Maurice Joseph added 12.
Abrams scored 22 points for the Longhorns (2-1), who had yet to be tested as
they rolled past both Alcorn State (103-44) and Chicago State (92-66). Kevin
Durant added 21 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
“We had five freshmen out there a lot and I thought overall things went pretty
well,” Barnes said.
Trailing 47-42, Michigan State went on a 12-0 run midway through the second
half, highlighted by a trio of three-pointers, to take a 54-47 lead.
Abrams drilled a three with 5:26 remaining to pull the Longhorns within one,
59-58, and Durant converted a free throw with 4:02 left to tie the game.
After Neitzel drained a pair at the line, Abrams tied the game at the charity
stripe with 2:48 remaining to tie the game at 61, and neither team scored
again until Neitzel’s game-winner.
Michigan State finished 9-for-17 from beyond the arc, while Texas was 7-
for-26. MSU shot 22-for-53 from the field, while Texas finished 22-for-63.
Texas led 40-36 at the half.
Michigan State has an all-time record of 69-20 in the month of
November…Texas has won the only two previous meetings with Michigan State,
including an 85-76 triumph in 2003.