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WRGT-TV FOX 45 News :: Sports - Local Sports - Michigan St lacks balance, loses 81-61 in semifinals to Duke

Michigan St lacks balance, loses 81-61 in semifinals to Duke

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Denzel Valentine's start to the Final Four was the stuff of dreams - three quick 3-pointers and an early lead for Michigan State.

He spent the rest of the night looking at a wall of white jerseys.

Valentine finished with 22 points, but the Spartans fell flat after that bright beginning, losing 81-61 to Duke in Saturday night's national semifinal.

"They did a good job of taking me away," Valentine said. "I got hot, and they started denying a little bit, and started forcing us to take bad shots."

After looking so comfortable early on, Michigan State ended up shooting only 40 percent for the game. The Spartans missed 10 of their last 11 shots in the first half, a stretch they couldn't afford against the favored Blue Devils.

So Michigan State's season ended in the national semifinals, and the seventh-seeded Spartans (27-12) looked very much like the underdog at a Final Four that included them and three No. 1 seeds.

"We got beat. Unfortunately I thought Duke played awfully well, but I thought it wasn't one of our better games," said coach Tom Izzo, who is 1-9 against Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. "Give Duke credit, and give our seniors credit for getting us to a place that most people didn't think we'd get to."

The Spartans' run to the Final Four was built on tough defense and timely outside shooting, with Valentine and Travis Trice leading the way. There was never that much offensive balance - and there was none on Saturday.

Trice scored 16 points and Branden Dawson added 12, but Dawson shot only 5 of 12 from the field and was Michigan State's only real offensive threat inside.

Matt Costello scored six points for Michigan State, and nobody else had more than two.

"I think we got kind of frustrated the first half," Valentine said. "We didn't keep our cool a little bit. Led to turnovers and bad shots."

The Spartans could not have asked for a much better start offensively. Valentine made two quick 3s, then Trice added one and Valentine made another. Michigan State led 14-6 and was showing no sign of nerves. A couple of Spartans slapped the floor on defense - a gesture Duke helped popularize years ago, but one Michigan State has become fond of.

"I don't think we started the game out with the intensity that we needed," Duke guard Quin Cook said. "A couple times ... I tried to cheat a ball screen, and Trice and Valentine will make you pay."

It turned out the early advantage was the high point for the Spartans. For the rest of the half, the Blue Devils (34-4) always seemed to have an extra defender ready to cut off Valentine and Trice on the perimeter, practically daring anyone else on Michigan State's team to make a significant contribution.

"They were denying us on the wings, kind of turning us down. Any time they had an opportunity, they switched," Trice said. "That's what made it rough for us to get it on the wings."

With about a minute left in the half, Valentine was knocked to the floor near midcourt and got up limping. He played on, but by then that early groove he and his teammates were in was long gone.

While the Spartans struggled offensively, they had nobody who could match up well inside with Duke star Jahlil Okafor at the other end. And they couldn't keep the Blue Devils off the foul line. Duke went 27 of 37 on free throws, and Dawson, Costello and Gavin Schilling were all in foul trouble down the stretch.

"You know, you're not allowed to touch anybody anymore," Izzo said. "I was here when we had smash-mouth basketball. I totally agree, I don't think that's the right way to do it. But I also don't think, I don't think anybody wants to see the best players on the bench."
Michigan St lacks balance, loses 81-61 in semifinals to Duke

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Ohio Sports

Last Update on November 25, 2015 06:35 GMT


BEREA, Ohio (AP) -- The Browns have benched quarterback Johnny Manziel because of his off-field behavior.

Coach Mike Pettine said Josh McCown will start Monday night's game against Baltimore in place of Manziel, who was recently given the starting job but has now been demoted to third string.

Manziel's benching comes in the wake of a video surfacing of him partying last weekend in Texas. He had promised not to bring any embarrassment to the team during its bye week, but Pettine said he was both disappointed and frustrated by Manziel's actions.

Pettine said owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager Ray Farmer support his decision.

In a statement, Pettine said "everyone in this organization wants what is best for Johnny just like we do for every player in our locker room. I'm especially disappointed in his actions and behavior because he has been working very hard."


MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) -- Matt Johnson threw for 236 yards and had three total touchdowns, Travis Greene ran for 97 yards and two scores, and Bowling Green beat Ball State 48-10 on Tuesday night.

Johnson opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Folkertsma. After Fred Coppet and Greene ran in short TDs, Johnson had a 4-yard sneak with 36 seconds left in the first half for a 27-0 lead.

Matt Domer capped the scoring with a 95-yard touchdown run -- the second-longest TD run in school history -- with 39 seconds remaining.

Coppet had 109 yards on the ground and Domer added 105 yards for Bowling Green (9-3, 7-1 Mid-American). Six Falcon rushers combined for 337 yards and five touchdowns.

Riley Neal was 24-of-40 passing for 154 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions for Ball State (3-9, 2-6).

Alfonso Mack, Eilar Hardy and Dernard Turner each had a pick of Neal.


DEKALB, Ill. (AP) -- Greg Windham and J.D. Sprague each threw a touchdown pass, Josiah Yazdani kicked four field goals and Ohio kept Northern Illinois from advancing to the Mid-American Conference title game with a 26-21 win on Tuesday night.

A.J. Ouellette rushed for 140 yards on 30 carries for the Bobcats (8-4, 5-3), to help put the Huskies (8-4, 6-2) in a holding position. Northern Illinois has to hope Western Michigan beats Toledo on Friday, which would create a tie among those three, to advance to the title game against East Division champion Bowling Green. The Huskies beat both teams and would win a three-way tiebreaker.

Sprague hit Jordan Reid for a 28-yard touchdown to opening the scoring and Windham threw 5 yards to Keith Heizman in the second quarter to make it 17-7.

NIU got within 20-14 with the only points in the third quarter before Yazdani hit two 25-yard field goals.


CINCINNATI (AP) -- Troy Caupain and Jacob Evans III scored 15 points apiece, and No. 24 Cincinnati overcame low-percentage shooting to beat Southeastern Louisiana 64-49 on Tuesday night.

Playing as a ranked team for the first time in two seasons, the Bearcats (5-0) struggled to make shots and led by only three points midway through the second half.

Evans made a pair of free throws and back-to-back 3s that helped Cincinnati pull away down the stretch, finishing with a career high. Gary Clark had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Southeastern Louisiana (1-4) was coming off a coming off 92-65 loss at Nebraska on Sunday. Despite the travel and the quick turnaround, the Lions stayed with Cincinnati and trailed by only three points midway through the second half.

Zay Jackson had 15 points apiece for Southeastern Louisiana.


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Alex Hamilton had 24 points and three teammates also reached double figures when Louisiana Tech defeated Ohio State 82-74 on Tuesday.

Erik McCree had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (4-0), who are off to their best start since 1998. Jacobi Boykins added 16 points and LeAntwan Luckett 10.

McCree hit a 3-pointer with under two minutes to play to give the Bulldogs a 76-69 lead to put the game away.

Ohio State (2-2) never led and lost a second straight home game to a non-major conference opponent after winning its previous 151 back to December 1994.

Marc Loving led Ohio State with 25 points; Keita Bates Diop scored 12 points and JaQuan Lyle 10.

Ohio State battled back from its largest deficit, 40-31, with just over two minutes left to trail 42-38 at the half after Loving banked a pressured layup off the glass with 2.9 seconds to go.


ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (AP) -- Khalil Small made a key 3-pointer with 3:30 to play and Green Bay held on to beat Akron 66-63 on Tuesday night.

Charles Cooper scored 14 points to lead Green Bay (2-3). Jordan Fouse added nine points and 16 rebounds.

Pat Forsythe and Antino Jackson had 14 points apiece to lead Akron (3-2).

Cooper made a layup to stretch the Phoenix lead to 55-48. Jake Kretzer made a 3-pointer, Isaiah Johnson a pair of free throws, and Jackson added another 3-pointer and the Zips led 56-55 with six minutes remaining.

Carrington Love tipped in a shot, and split a pair of free throws before Small's 3-pointer stretched the Phoenix lead to 61-56. Kretzer made another 3-pointer to pull the Zips to 61-59. Fouse made a layup and Cooper was 3 of 6 from the line to cap the Phoenix scoring.

Jackson's 3-point attempt to tie it at the buzzer fell short.


KENT, Ohio (AP) -- Jimmy Hall scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Kent State beat Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) 79-60 on Tuesday night.

Xavier Pollard added 11 points for the Golden Flashes (3-1). Kent State took care of the ball with only five turnovers to 15 assists.

Greg Brown had 21 points for the Red Flash (2-2) on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. However, the rest of his team was 1 of 10 from the arc and shot only 37.3 percent from the field. Josh Nebo added 11 points, seven from the free-throw line.

Kent State never trailed and led by 11 at halftime. The Golden Flashes had a 25-point lead, 70-45, after Chris Ortiz's basket with 8:06 to go.

The victory was the second in a row for Kent State while Saint Francis had a two-game win streak snapped.


DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- Joe Thomasson scored 17 points with six rebounds and five assists to pace Wright State over Division III Mount St. Joseph 66-52 on Tuesday.

Thomasson was 6-of-10 shooting and made all five free throw attempts. Michael Karena had 12 points and Mark Alstork added 11 points with six boards.

Femi Thompson led Mount St. Joseph with 15 points. Joel Scudder and Travis Combs had 13 points apiece.

Wright State (2-3) scored the first eight points of the game and never trailed, as Mount St. Joseph was scoreless over the first 5:15 of the game until Combs hit a 3-pointer. A 7-2 run at the end of the first half put Wright State up 31-12 at the intermission.

The Lions trimmed their deficit to 11 on Thompson's 3-pointer with 8:27 left, but the Raiders ran off eight straight to fend off the challenge.

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