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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Michigan State's Furious Comeback Falls Short

The Michigan State Spartans found themselves down by 18 points at halftime, and as many as 23 in the second half, but just refused to go down. . .and the UCLA Bruins seemed more than content to let them hang around. In the end, however, Michigan State just couldn't pull off the impossible, and fell to the Bruins in Southeast Regional action on Thursday night by a score of 78-76.

UCLA had a 42-24 lead at halftime in this one, and had a lead of 64-41 when Brendan Lane hit a jumper with 8:36 remaining in the ball game, but UCLA just kept clanking their free throws, enabling the Spartans to close the game on a 35-14 run. The Bruins missed a free throw with 4.4 seconds left, but Spartans' guard Kalin Lucas was called for traveling while trying to get through a triple-team and launch a half-court prayer. After that, all UCLA needed to do was get the ball in bounds, and they did that to run out the clock and take home the victory.

Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee led the way for the Bruins with 16 points each, and that was supplemented by Joshua Smith's 14. For the Spartans, Draymond Green had a triple-double in the losing effort, finishing the game with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Lucas finished with 11 points after being held scoreless through the game's first 32 minutes.

UCLA will move on to play the second-seeded Florida Gators, who blew out the Gauchos of UC-Santa Barbara earlier in the evening by a score of 79-51.

Congratulations to the Spartans on a successful season.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.