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Indianapolis Kalin Lucas wasn’t planning his move.
With the game tied, a minute left, and the shot clock winding down, he instead turned to instinct.
It ended up working out perfectly for the Spartans.
“That’s all I tried to do — tried to create,” Lucas said after Michigan State’s 67-62 victory over Kansas University on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I just got lucky, and I got him with the bump and scored.”
With 49 seconds left, Lucas drove in, gave a quick up-fake, then pushed his body into Sherron Collins before hitting the short shot.
The three-point play gave the Spartans the lead for good.
The one-on-one scenario might not have even happened if the Jayhawks hadn’t defended so well earlier in the game.
MSU coach Tom Izzo called a 30-second timeout before the sequence, and his plan was to spread the floor to let Lucas create.
Because the Jayhawks had been switching on all ball screens — and doing it well — the coach made sure that Lucas took on Collins one-on-one without the help of a screen.
“Things worked out,” Izzo said, “but they worked out because we executed some big-time plays out of timeouts.”
Lucas had MSU’s final seven points.
“I think that’s the type of person Kalin is,” MSU guard Travis Walton said. “When he plays against another big-time guard, Sherron Collins, he kind of wants to prove himself to the nation. Today, I think he took it personal. I think at the end of the shot clock, he wanted the ball in his hands.”
The Spartans also were able to wear out the Jayhawks. KU held a 60-55 lead with 3:22 left, but MSU came away with the next six rebounds.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the Spartans ended on a 12-2 run.
MSU center Goran Suton admitted part of the gameplan centered on forcing fatigue from KU’s Cole Aldrich.
“We had to run some ball screens, make him guard me, too, so we can get him tired on the other end,” Suton said.
Izzo said his team’s biggest first-half problem was turnovers. The Spartans had 10 giveaways in the first 20 minutes, and many of them led to uncontested baskets on the other end.
“That ball felt like Christmas: We were just giving it away,” Izzo said.
MSU had just three turnovers in the second half.
The Spartans were outrebounded, 37-31. They had only been outrebounded three times coming into Friday’s game — the last time against Texas on Dec. 20, 2008.
“Kansas is a very, very good team. We beat a very, very good team,” Izzo said. “But I’m really proud of the way our guys fought back when they could have died a few times.”
The Spartans advanced to their sixth Elite Eight in the last 11 seasons.