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UCLA holds off late Michigan State rally for 78-76 victory

The Bruins hold Spartans star guard Kalin Lucas to 11 points and advance in the Southeast Regional despite blowing nearly all of a 23-point lead and missing eight free throws in the final 1:31 of the game.

March 17, 2011|By Ben Bolch
  • UCLA guard Malcolm Lee is fouled by Michigan State's Draymond Green, right, after driving past Delvon Roe on Thursday night in Tampa, Fla.
UCLA guard Malcolm Lee is fouled by Michigan State's Draymond Green,… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

UCLA is going to the third round in its first NCAA tournament in two years and Michigan State, a veteran of the last two Final Fours, is going home.

Not that the seventh-seeded Bruins didn't have more than a few anxious moments in the final minute of their 78-76 victory in their Southeast Regional second-round game Thursday at the St. Pete Times Forum.

The 10th-seeded Spartans sliced what had been a 23-point deficit to one with 4.4 seconds left when Keith Appling buried Michigan State's ninth three-pointer of the second half.

The Spartans fouled Malcolm Lee before the Bruins could inbound the ball. Lee made the first free throw and missed the second, but Michigan State's Kalin Lucas was called for traveling near midcourt with two-tenths of a second left.

Once Honeycutt inbounded the ball to Jerime Anderson, the Bruins (23-10) were on their way to face second-seeded Florida (27-7) in the third round Saturday. The Gators defeated the Bruins in the 2006 national title game and a national semifinal a year later.

UCLA contributed to the comeback by making only three of 11 free throws during the final 1:31 of the game. The Bruins ultimately prevailed thanks to the grit of Honeycutt, the defensive tenacity of Lee and an unexpected lift from Brendan Lane.

Lee held Lucas, Michigan State's leading scorer, to 11 points on four-for-15 shooting. Lucas was scoreless until making a layup off a turnover with 7:45 left in the game.

Honeycutt had 16 points, five assists, five rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots. Lane provided eight points off the bench, including a hook shot that gave UCLA a 64-41 lead before things started to go seriously astray for the Bruins.

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UCLA might have withstood Michigan State's final run.

The Spartans cut a 20-point deficit in half before Tyler Honeycutt drove the lane for a layup, blocked a shot and then spotted up for a three-pointer that gave the Bruins a 56-39 lead midway through the second half of their NCAA tournament opener Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas is still scoreless and seems to be giving up looking for his shot. He has missed all nine of his attempts.

2011 NCAA men's tournament interactive bracket

Honeycutt has 14 points and is showcasing an all-around game with three assists, three steals, two rebounds and one blocked shot.

UCLA needs to hold on to set up a third-round rematch with Florida, which knocked the Bruins out in the Final Four in 2006 and '07.

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Which team had only 32 minutes of NCAA tournament experience again?

UCLA made Michigan State look like the postseason neophyte in the first half of their Southeast Region opener Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, thoroughly flustering the Spartans on the way to taking a 42-24 halftime lead.

Live scoreboard of Thursday's games

Bruins guard Malcolm Lee and his teammates held Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas scoreless on eight shots, a stunning display of inefficiency for a player who had dropped 30 points on Purdue last week in the Big Ten Conference tournament.

Sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt had nine points to lead a balanced attack for UCLA, which is a complete collapse away from playing Florida in the third round Saturday. Sophomore forward Reeves Nelson has eight points, Lee seven and junior guard Jerime Anderson six for the Bruins, who shot 41.4% to Michigan State's 28.6% in the first half.

One concern for UCLA: freshman center Joshua Smith, who was back in the starting lineup for the first time since January, picked up his second foul with 4 minutes 8 seconds remaining until halftime and sat out the rest of the way. Another concern: Honeycutt grabbed his shoulder in apparent discomfort late in the first half after making a steal.

The Bruins are being much more physical than the Spartans, holding a 21-10 rebounding edge. Guard Durell Summers has 12 points for Michigan State, which has made only one of eight three-pointers and hardly resembles the team that went to Final Four in each of the last two years.

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Things are tilting UCLA's way in the early going of its NCAA tournament opener.

The Bruins got the cohesive start they needed and have contained Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas, holding him scoreless through the first eight-plus minutes of their Southeast Region second-round game Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Tyler Honeycutt has six early points for UCLA, which has a 14-8 lead over the Spartans. The Bruins are expending admirable effort on defense, keeping Lucas in check after he missed his first three shots.

Durrell Summers has five points for Michigan State, which already has seven turnovers less than halfway through the first half.

Pregame

The early going of the late game here could determine whether UCLA is one and done in the NCAA tournament.

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