Duke upends Michigan State to head to Elite Eight
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Seth Curry drained six 3-pointers and Duke shut down Michigan State in the second half of the Midwest Regional semifinal to earn a 71-61 victory and advance to the Elite Eight.
Curry finished with a game-high 29 points and the second-seeded Blue Devils (30-5) limited the Spartans to just seven field goals after the break to set up a date with top-seeded Louisville at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
The meeting pits Mike Krzyzewski against Rick Pitino in a regional final for the second time, the other coming in 1992 when Duke beat Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats on Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater.
Rasheed Sulaimon and Mason Plumlee contributed 16 and 14 points, respectively, for the Blue Devils, who improved to 8-2 all-time against MSU.
The third-seeded Spartans (27-9) hit a cold streak they couldn't escape from until the final stages, as they fell in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
Keith Appling led Michigan State with 16 points, while Adreian Payne added 14 with 10 rebounds in the loss. Gary Harris was held to six points -- seven below his season average -- on a rough 2-of-11 shooting night.
It wasn't only Harris struggling with his shot, as the Spartans connected on just one field goal over a 14-plus minute span in the second half.
"We didn't quit, we hung in there...(but) I thought we played poorly for us," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said.
Curry drained a 3-pointer to break a 38-38 tie, and followed Plumlee's reverse layup and hook shot with an off-balanced jumper to push Duke's lead to 47-38 with just under 14 minutes remaining.
Michigan State stayed in striking distance by getting to the foul line, but still trailed by double digits, 62-49, after Sulaimon's two free throws inside four minutes to play.
Travis Trice's three-point play cut the deficit to 63-56, before Duke converted all eight of its free throw attempts down the stretch to reach the Elite Eight for the first time since its 2010 title run.
Neither side led by more than four until Curry bookended an 8-0 run with a pair of 3-pointers for a 25-18 Duke lead, though the Blue Devils failed to make a field goal the final 6:26 of the opening half.
Payne, after missing his first five shots, scored seven points during a period-ending 9-2 run, including a 3-pointer in the final minute that pulled the Spartans within 32-31 at the intermission.
Curry was the high-scorer of the half with 14 points and hit a triple on Duke's first possession after the break to end the Blue Devils' field goal drought.
"Seth was at a different level than anyone else on the court offensively," Krzyzewski said. "It was an incredible performance."
Both programs came in with terrific NCAA Tournament records in Indianapolis, as Duke was 6-1 and MSU was 7-1 ... Duke had been ousted in the Sweet 16 or earlier in seven of the previous eight tourneys ... The Blue Devils recorded the 13th 30-win campaign in school history ... Duke's Quinn Cook, who averaged 12 points a game coming in, was held scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting ... Duke connected on 24-of-26 from the foul line ... Duke ousted Albany and Creighton in its first two tourney games, while Michigan State upended Valparaiso and Memphis to reach this round.
03/30 01:15:00 ET