March 28, 2009

VIDEO: Spartans expect clutch play from Lucas, Suton

INDIANAPOLIS - Kalin Lucas is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, but the 6-foot sophomore point guard doesn't quite have the name recognition enjoyed by Kansas point guard Sherron Collins.

If Lucas keeps on playing the way he did down the stretch in Michigan State's 67-62 win over Kansas in the Midwest Regional semifinal Lucas will become a household name with college basketball fans.

Lucas outplayed Collins during the second half of the Sweet 16 match-up between Kansas and Michigan State. Early in the second half, Lucas buried a 3-pointer to knot the game, 49-49, and overcome a 7-point halftime deficit. In the last five minutes of the game, Lucas was even better. He found Raymar Morgan for a crucial dunk that tied the game at 60 before making the play of the game on a 3-point play.

"I think Sherron plays great defense," Lucas said. "It was just a time and a moment where, one thing I try to do is get to the line. I got to the lane and I just got the and-1. It was a broken play and when it is a broke play coach just tells everybody to go down. It was just me and Sherron Collins one-on-one and I just tried to make something happen and I made something happen."

The Spartan sophomore is not concerned with being a household name in college basketball. He is more concerned with making sure his team does whatever it takes to move advance in the tournament. In the second half, that meant playing defense and forcing turnovers.

"It is not about me and Sherron," Lucas said. "It is about the team. It is about Michigan State and Kansas, when we beat them at our house it was a team effort and tonight it was a team effort."

Lucas's teammates have become accustomed to seeing Lucas make special plays whether it is a pass to a teammate for a wide-open dunk or a three-point play to seal the game for Michigan State.

"Whether it is scoring or passing, K just wants to win," explained former AAU teammate Durrell Summers. "If he sees an opening for him to score, that is what he is going to do. If he sees an opening for someone else to score he is going to give it up. K is a real passionate winner."

Summers made his presence felt in a variety of ways. The sophomore from Detroit finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 26 minutes. Summers's biggest bucket came on tip at the 3-minute mark that answered a tough pull-up jumper by Collins to give Kansas a 5-point lead.

"It is just me buying into what coach has been saying," explained Summers, who has 13 rebounds in his last two games. "Coach keeps on saying, 'don't leak out, don't' leak out, the break will be there.' I have just been kind of maturing in that category, just listening to him and doing what it takes to win. If it takes me going in there every time and jumping up to get a rebound, I might eventually get something. In the first half, I didn't have any rebounds. I just kept going at it and going at it and I was able to come away with some big ones."

Senior Goran Suton finished 1 rebound short of a double double against Kansas with 20 points and 9 rebounds, but Suton outplayed a nationally visible opponent for a second straight week. One week after getting the best of USC star Taj Gibson, Suton came up big against Aldrich and the Jayhawks. Suton played solid defense and finished the game with a team-high 5 steals.

"I think I did pretty well," said Suton. "(Aldrich) didn't get too many baskets on me. The ones that he did score where when I was helping out on other guys. He did get some offensive rebounds and some tip-ins, but I think that I did make him take some tough shots and turn the ball over."

Freshman power forward Draymond Green expects Suton to have big games against the nation's best frontcourt players. Green says he knew Suton would be ready to play against Aldrich.

"That's just 'G,' he thrives on big moments," said Green. "He gets known a little bit, but he is a great player. At times like this he has to step up big for us because he is our go-to big player. Kalin is our go-to guard and G is our go-to big guy and we need him to step up in games like this. He does it."

Suton made a number of clutch buckets for Michigan State, but perhaps none was bigger than the perimeter jumper Suton buried as time expired on the first half. Initially the bucket was waived off, but then Michigan State was given credit for the basket that cut the Kansas lead to seven points at halftime.

"That was big because coach Izzo told us in the huddle with about four minutes left that at halftime we had to have the lead down to 6 or 7 and we did that," said Green. "We came into the locker room at halftime and we regrouped. Coach told us the things we were doing wrong and that we had to correct them."





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