NCAA

Michigan State ends Zion Williamson, Duke's quest for a National Championship

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Michigan State ends Zion Williamson, Duke's quest for a National Championship

WASHINGTON  -- Cassius Winston put Michigan State on his shoulders and carried the Spartans into the Final Four.

The do-everything point guard took over the game when his team faced its biggest deficit and led second-seeded Michigan State to a 68-67 victory over overall No. 1 seed Duke on Sunday in the East Region final.

Duke boasted the biggest stars in Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, but Winston shined brightest to put Michigan State in the Final Four for the first time since 2015. Winston had 20 points and 10 assists, made nine of his 23 shots and never shied away from shooting.

Michigan State will play Texas Tech in one national semifinal Saturday in Minneapolis. Virginia faces Auburn in the other.

Winston was the facilitator but the Spartans received a huge boost from their oldest player. Kenny Goins, a fifth-year senior who missed his first four 3-point attempts, drained the go-ahead shot with 34.3 seconds left to put Michigan State up 68-66.

Duke had the chance to tie but Barrett missed the first of two free throws with 5.2 seconds left. Duke was helpless with only four fouls, and Winston was able to get the ball away from the Duke defenders and dribble out the clock.

Michigan State is in the Final Four for the eighth time under coach Tom Izzo, who beat Duke's Mike Krzyzewski for just the second time in 13 meetings and second time in seven NCAA Tournament games. Izzo is in the Final Four for the eighth time in his career and tied Krzyzewski what would have been a record 13th appearance.

"I love you all, I appreciate you all. I'll see you in Minneapolis" Izzo, who wiped away tears, told the celebrating crowd that included Michigan State alumnus Magic Johnson.

Izzo had to navigate foul trouble to big man Xavier Tillman, who was essential in guarding Williamson and factoring in on the offensive end. Tillman played 29 minutes and scored 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting.

Duke fell one step short of the Final Four after finally coming out on the losing end of a nail-biter. The Blue Devils won their previous two NCAA Tournament games by a combined three points, and escaped in the final seconds only when their opponents missed at the buzzer.

Williamson finished with a game-high 24 points and 14 rebounds. Barrett had 21 points -- but not the one that could have sent the game into overtime.

REDDISH BACK

Cam Reddish didn't start for Duke but the freshman was the first player off the bench two minutes in after being a game-time decision. Reddish missed the Sweet 16 victory against Virginia Tech on Friday with a left knee injury.

Reddish missed his first two shots before his two free throws gave Duke its first lead at 22-21 with 7:10 left in the first half.

UP NEXT

While this is the Spartans' 10th Final Four, it's the first in program history for their opponent, Texas Tech, which beat Gonzaga to win the West Region.

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Mac McClung demoralizes Syracuse with a buzzer-beating three to end the half

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Mac McClung demoralizes Syracuse with a buzzer-beating three to end the half

WASHINGTON - There is not a better way to suck the momentum away from an opponent before halftime than an emphatic run and a buzzer-beater.

Georgetown did just that to Syracuse to finish the opening half of their contest. 

An 11-0 run allowed the Hoyas to open up the score for the first time in their rivalry matchup. The Hoyas then held the Orange without a basket for over a four-minute stretch to end the half. Turnovers by Syracuse, transition baskets for Georgetown had everything going the way for the Hoyas.

Finally, the Orange's best-scorer ended the dry spell. Elijah Hughes hit a mid-range jumper to save the Orange from a heart-breaking end of the half. It was two of his 18 points in the opening 20 minutes. 

Then Mac McClung answered the bell at the horn.

Right up the court without hesitation. McClung had 21 to lead all scorers. The Hoyas were on top 48-36 on a 14-2 run. 

Since the Hoyas lost their starting point guard James Akinjo, McClung has been the answer for Georgetown. He's averaged 26 points in the two games since Akinjo announced his intention to transfer -- which included a season-high 33 against Oklahoma State.

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Daryl Dike's incredible goals leads UVA to the national championship game

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Daryl Dike's incredible goals leads UVA to the national championship game

It's never too late for a beautiful strike.

In the national semifinals between Virginia and Wake Forest, Hoos' leading scorer Daryl Dike, scored a goal for the ages. 

Dike tracked this ball perfectly and buried it past Andrew Pannenberg on his first touch.

Dike wasn't done there, stretching the lead to 2-0 with this beauty of a header:

Next up for UVA is the national championship title game Sunday, December 15th at 6 p.m., where they'll face off with Georgetown in Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.