April 4, 2009

VIDEO: Summers, Spartans run UCONN out of Motown

DETROIT - Michigan State sophomore Durrell Summers has heard all about the way his team's best chance of winning basketball games is slowing down the tempo.

The Detroit native does not pay much attention to the talking heads that do not understand that his team would like nothing better than to get out and run. But after his team ran UCONN of the gym on the way to an 82-73 win over the No. 1 seed from the Big East, Summers hopes that the folks at ESPN have a better understanding of what Michigan State basketball is all about.

"I think (transition offense) is a strength of ours," Summers said. "Teams try to stop it, we stick with it, we find ways to use it, and we showed that we are a deep team and we can wear teams down with our fast break."

Michigan State outscored UCONN 22-10 in fast break points. Aside from the dunk of the Final Four, Summers outran the Huskies defense for a lay-up and free-throw to put Michigan State up six points with a minute left to put an end to UCONN'S last-ditch run with less than three minutes remaining in the game.

Like most of the players on the Spartan roster, Summers is from the State of Michigan. As such, it could not get much better than winning a championship in his own backyard. The same holds true for his head coach and Summers knows what capturing a championship in the city of Detroit would be mean to Izzo.

"It is going to be big for coach," said Summers. "He has won a title before, but I think it would be a lot more meaningful to him to win it in his home state as well as the other guys on the team. I think that it would be big for the whole state of Michigan and the whole city of Detroit."

Summers says that he could feel the support from the 72,456 fans at Ford Field.

"They wanted us to win badly," said Summers. "And I think that we are kind of showing everybody that hard work and just focusing pays off. We are trying to win this for the whole state of Michigan and the whole City of Detroit. We are trying to show them a little bit of sunshine and lift everyone up."

Perhaps the biggest applause at Ford Field came when Summers threw down one of the biggest dunks of the 2008-2009 season.
"I just heard the crowd roar," said Summers. "I fell down and I heard the roar. At the same time, I heard coach yelling at me to get up and get back. At first I thought I heard a whistle, but then coach was yelling at me to get up and get back.
"It was the most meaningful dunk of my life given the time and position we were in. To get that in a big game like this, it was a huge momentum swing for our team."

When Summers threw down his monstrous dunk, he noticed that UCONN lost a little bit of their swagger.

"We saw them drop their heads a little bit," said Summers. "But we tried to stick what we had been doing because even with a play like that, they are a great team and they could come back."

Summers was happy for teammate Raymar Morgan who created a little bit of sunshine for himself and his teammates with 18 points and 9 rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting.

"I am blown away for Ray," Summers said. "I think it was a break out game for him and he is going to have an amazing game on Monday. He has been up and down a little bit with all of the adversity that he has faced, but he is a great player and he bounced back at the right time."

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