UCLA Holds On to Beat MSU in NCAA Second Round, 78-76

March 18, 2011

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

Post-Game Notes | Interview Room Quotes | Locker Room Quotes

Tournament Central

Score by Periods1st2ndFinal
Michigan State245276

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - UCLA kept clanking free throws, Michigan State kept draining 3-pointers. It turned a potential rout into a nailbiter.

In the end, the Bruins escaped. Barely.

Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee scored 16 points apiece and seventh-seeded UCLA held off a late comeback by the 10th-seeded Spartans 78-76 in the Southeast regional of the NCAA tournament.

The Bruins (23-10) won despite missing 17 free throws, nine of them in the final 3:40 while the Spartans were making a barrage of 3-pointers to get back into the game. They advanced to a third-round matchup against No. 2 seed Florida, which beat 15th-seeded UC Santa Barbara 79-51.

"This is not the first time that we've had a lead evaporate," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "We're now 21-0, though, whenever we get a 10-point lead or more, and that's been good. You know, we've played a lot of tight games, and somehow we've found a way to win more than we've lost, and that's been big for us."

UCLA led 42-24 at the half and by as many as 23 in the second half before nearly letting the game slip away against a team hoping to make it to a third consecutive Final Four. The Bruins were 30 of 47 from the foul line and only made two field goals over the final eight minutes.

Draymond Green led Michigan State (19-15) with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists - just the seventh official triple-double in NCAA tournament history. Durrell Summers added 15 and Spartans star Kalin Lucas finished with 11 after going the first 32 minutes without scoring.

"Any time you win in this tournament it's a big deal," Howland said after improving to 15-5 in six NCAA tournament appearances with UCLA. He's 19-8 overall.

"Beating Michigan State, I mean, this is a team that went to back-to-back Final Fours the last two years. They are a tournament tested, very hard-nosed tough group," Howland added. "It's a huge win for us, and I'm sure it's a confidence booster for our players."

Lucas, averaging 20.9 over his previous 14 games, missed his first eight shots before finally scoring on a steal and layup with 7:45 remaining. Unfortunately for Michigan State that first basket didn't come until after Honeycutt and Joshua Smith keyed a 15-2 burst that had rebuilt UCLA's lead to 23 after the Spartans pulled within 10 early in the second half.

But the game was far from over.

Green and Lucas made 3-pointers to start a game-ending 35-14 run. Freshman Keith Appling made three treys during the surge, the final one pulling the Spartans within 77-76 with 4.4 seconds remaining.

Lee went the foul line for UCLA, sinking one of two free throws, leaving Michigan State with one more chance and 4.4 seconds left. That opportunity disappeared when Lucas was called for traveling while trying to dribble through a triple team.

"I'm crushed and disappointed because we just got off to such a poor start, and yet I'm so proud of these guys," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.


"Beating Michigan State, I mean, this is a team that went to back-to-back Final Fours the last two years. They are a tournament tested, very hard-nosed tough group," Howland added. "It's a huge win for us, and I'm sure it's a confidence booster for our players."


"They've been knocked down so many times this year that I don't think I've ever had a team that's gone through as much, and yet to battle back and almost put themselves at a chance to win was incredible. ... I give UCLA a lot of credit. They just seemed to have more energy than us early. We found a way to bounce back ... and we just fell a little short."

Returning most of its key players from last season, Michigan State began the 2010-11 ranked No. 2 but sputtered against a tough nonconference schedule and really never hit its stride in the Big Ten, either. The inconsistency left Izzo and his players wondering if the Spartans would even extend its string of consecutive NCAA appearances to 14 - third longest in the nation behind Kansas (22) and Duke (16).

UCLA is back in the tourney after a one-year absence with a team that starts five underclassmen and had just two players - Lee and another junior, Jerime Anderson - with NCAA experience before Thursday night.

That lack of tournament seasoning showed down the stretch.

The Bruins finished with 18 turnovers, 11 of them in the second half. The were 9 of 18 from the foul line down the stretch.

Smith, UCLA's 6-foot-10, 305-pound freshman center, had 14 points. Nelson Reeves finished with 12, including a free throw that put the Bruins up 76-66 with less than two minutes left.

Taking advantage of four more missed free throws, Lucas and Appling made 3-pointers to keep the Spartans' hopes alive. Lucas made one of two free throws with 42.2 seconds remaining, and Appling made another 3 to finish the comeback.

"I just felt bad that we stepped up there three different times and had two shot fouls and missed all six of them," Howland said about the near collapse. "We've just got to keep working at it."

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Friday, Oct 30
vs. Cal State Los ...
Los Angeles, CA
W, 95 - 57
Friday, Nov 13
vs. Monmouth
Los Angeles, CA
L, 81 - 84 (OT)
Sunday, Nov 15
vs. Cal Poly
Los Angeles, CA
W, 88 - 83
Thursday, Nov 19
vs. Pepperdine
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 67
Monday, Nov 23
vs. UNLV
Lahaina, HI
W, 77 - 75
Tuesday, Nov 24
vs. Kansas
Lahaina, HI
L, 73 - 92
Wednesday, Nov 25
vs. Wake Forest
Lahaina, HI
L, 77 - 80
Sunday, Nov 29
vs. CSUN
Los Angeles, CA
W, 77 - 45
Thursday, Dec 03 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Kentucky
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Dec 06 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Long Beach State
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 12 - 7:00 PM PST
at Gonzaga
Spokane, WA
Tuesday, Dec 15 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 19 - 10:00 AM PST
vs. North Carolina
Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, Dec 22 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. McNeese State
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Jan 01 - 8:00 PM PST
at Washington
Seattle, WA
Sunday, Jan 03 - 6:30 PM PST
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
Thursday, Jan 07 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 09 - 2:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 13 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 20 - 8:00 PM PST
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
Saturday, Jan 23 - 1:00 PM PST
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
Thursday, Jan 28 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 30 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 04 - 7:30 PM PST
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Feb 12 - 6:00 PM PST
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Sunday, Feb 14 - 5:30 PM PST
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
Thursday, Feb 18 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Utah
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Feb 20 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. Colorado
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 25 - 6:00 PM PST
at California
Berkeley, CA
Saturday, Feb 27 - 1:30 PM PST
at Stanford
Stanford, CA