Sunday, March 26, 2000

Michigan State 75, Iowa State 64




BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — There were times in the game that returned Michigan State to college basketball's Final Four when Tom Izzo's coaching was truly artful. But his contribution to the evening's defining moment was a matter of simple artwork.

        It was not his idea to call for the Spartans' “screen and re-screen” play with the Spartans up by a single point and 2:17 left in their NCAA Tournament Midwest Region final against Iowa State. Senior star Morris Peterson suggested the call, and Izzo was wise enough to agree.

        “I got the chance to just draw it up with a little pen,” Izzo said. “That's about all I did.”

        Peterson and two-time All-American Mateen Cleaves handled the rest. Cleaves set a screen in the high post and stepped away to receive the ball, and Peterson faked a dash to the 3-point line, then quickly reversed himself and left behind Cyclones guard Jamaal Tinsley. Cleaves tossed the ball above the rim, and Peterson soared to slam it through the goal.

        This basket did not give the Spartans the lead, nor account for the final margin of their 75-64 victory Saturday night. With the majority of the fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills wildly in favor of Michigan State, though, it was an electrifying sort of play that caused the sturdy Cyclones to question their ability to win.

        “That really turned the whole thing around,” Iowa State guard Kantrail Horton said. “That was great execution.”

        Izzo's genuine contribution to the victory was a defensive gameplan that limited Iowa State All-American Marcus Fiz er to 15 points on 15 shots, as well as his decision to allow Cleaves to defend guard Jamaal Tinsley head to head.

        Although Tinsley scored 18 points, he turned over the ball five times and passed for just two assists. Cleaves' rigid defense kept Tinsley from penetrating the lane more than occasionally, and the Cyclones (32-5) wound up shooting .400 from the field.

        “If ever a guy scored 18 points and I could honestly say we did a good job,” Izzo said, “this would be the time.”

        Michigan State (30-7) successfully emphasized its size advantage over Iowa State, with center Andre Hutson scoring 17 points — most of them on post-ups against Fizer — and power forward A.J. Granger atoning for his zero-rebound night with 18 points.

        Peterson's dunk off the lob accounted for two of his 13 second-half points, which helped res cue the Spartans (30-7) from a 48-40 deficit in place with 11 minutes left and from what could have been a disastrous two-minute stretch in which Cleaves had to sit following his fourth personal foul. Peterson finished with 18 and earned the region's most outstanding player award.

        Directly after Cleaves went to the bench, Tinsley made the two free throws earned from that foul and then a short jumper that made it a 52-49 Cyclones lead, but Peterson scored two baskets in a row to keep the Spartans close.

        “I saw our leader going to the sidelines,” Peterson said. “Mateen looked at me and said, "It's your game.' That's all he had to tell me.”

        The Spartans outscored Iowa State by a 20-3 margin in the final 4:50.

        That was misleading, though. The last six of those points followed two technical fouls against Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy that led to his ejection. He was protesting a foul call against guard Michael Nurse, who tried to swat loose a rebound from Hutson as the Cyclones tried desperately to rally. In reality, though, Eustachy's anger probably lingered from a double-foul call with 3:43 left that cost his team a chance to shoot free throws with a 61-60 lead.

        “It was a new situation to me,” Eustachy said.

        ISU reserve Paul Shirley went up for a layup, and Michigan State guard Charlie Bell attempted to draw a charge. Officials called it a double foul and awarded the ball to the Cyclones on the possession arrow.

        Nurse, who scored 17 points, missed a drive out of a television timeout. Michigan State grabbed the lead when Bell pump-faked behind the 3-point line, dribbed to 16 feet and nailed a pull-up jumper that made it 62-61 in favor of the Spartans with 2:52 remaining. They never surrendered that advantage.


IOWA ST (64)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Horton          32   1-5   4-4   0-6  2  2    6
Johnson         29   1-1   0-1   2-5  0  0    2
Fizer           36  6-15   2-2   0-4  1  4   15
Tinsley         34  5-13   5-7   1-3  2  4   18
Nurse           40  5-11   2-2   0-4  1  5   17
Hawkins         13   1-2   0-0   3-7  0  2    2
Shirley         16   1-3   2-2   3-4  2  5    4
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 20-50 15-18  9-33  8 22   64
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.400, FT-.833. 3-Point Goals: 9-26, .346 (Horton 0-3, Fizer 1-6, Tinsley 3-8, Nurse 5-9). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 3 (Tinsley 3). Turnovers: 19 (Tinsley 5, Fizer 3, Horton 3, Nurse 3, Johnson 2, Shirley 2, Hawkins). Steals: 1 (Hawkins).

MICHIGAN ST (75) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Hutson 24 6-9 5-5 2-11 2 4 17 Peterson 36 5-13 7-7 3-7 0 3 18 Granger 37 5-8 6-6 0-0 2 2 18 Cleaves 35 4-12 1-2 0-1 2 4 10 Bell 26 3-11 2-2 0-5 2 4 9 Smith 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Thomas 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Ishbia 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Chappell 15 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 Richardson 13 0-1 0-0 1-2 0 1 0 Anagonye 8 0-0 1-2 1-1 0 4 1 Ballinger 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 24-56 22-24 7-27 9 23 75 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.429, FT-.917. 3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Peterson 1-3, Granger 2-4, Cleaves 1-4, Bell 1-6, Chappell 0-1, Richardson 0-1). Team rebounds: None. Blocked shots: 3 (Cleaves 2, Peterson). Turnovers: 8 (Cleaves 5, Bell, Hutson, Peterson). Steals: 6 (Bell 3, Cleaves 2, Peterson). __________________________________ Iowa St 31 33 - 64 Michigan St 34 41 - 75 __________________________________ Technical fouls: Iowa St 2 (Bench 2). Michigan St 1 (Bench). A: 21,214. Officials: Curtis Shaw, Rick Bastell, Lonnie Dixon.



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