Spartans end Northern Iowa’s run; Carmelo breaks Toronto’s heart

By: 03.27.10

Michigan State's Korie Lucious

If Tom Izzo really does have an underground Lord of the Rings-style factory where he builds his Michigan State army from scratch, he wasn’t even being creative when he made Korie Lucious as the eventual successor to Kalin Lucas. Similar name, similar game, and if you saw the spin move and floater that Lucious (10 pts, 6 asts, 4 stls) hit last night to stick the dagger in Northern Iowa and send the Spartans to yet another Elite Eight, you couldn’t help but remember Lucas’ similar shot that iced Kansas in the tourney last year … The underdog Panthers gave it a run — it was tied up with less than three minutes to go — but missed a few too many free throws and gave up some crucial inside buckets down the stretch. Tournament hero Ali Farokhmanesh was off (9 pts, 1-5 3PA), while State’s Durrell Summers (19 pts, 7 rebs) continues producing under the radar as one of the best players in the Big Dance nobody is talking about … Ohio State’s Evan Turner is getting plenty of attention, and he was an assassin on Friday, hanging 31 points, 7 boards and 5 assists on Tennessee. Turner dropped a huge three with 41 seconds left to put the 2-seed Buckeyes up by one, but after UT’s “Big Baby” Brian Williams put them back ahead with a tip-in, Turner missed a driving layup and two threes at the end. That last sequence wasn’t totally his fault, though. It seemed OSU coach Thad Matta had no game plan and sent his guys out there with no instruction beyond “Let Evan do what he wants.” … How many NBA players do you think were on the court in that Buckeyes/Vols game? Turner is obviously a Top-5 pick, but after that it’s complicated: Scotty Hopson has NBA talent and potential, but his production has yet to catch up; Wayne Chism (hustle), William Buford (athleticism), David Lighty (defense) and Jon Diebler (ratchet) have at least one pro skill; and J.P. Prince could be a poor man’s version of the poor man’s version (C.J. Miles) of his cousin (Tayshaun Prince). There was a lot of talent on the floor, but after Turner, no sure things … The other two Sweet 16 games weren’t that close: Duke took care of Purdue behind Kyle Singler‘s 24 points, while Baylor bopped St. Mary’s on the head as LaceDarius Dunn scored 23 … CBS did an interview with K-State coach Frank Martin sitting right next to Butler’s Brad Stevens. Anyone else get the feeling that Martin has chunks of guys like Stevens in his stool? … Rough night for Chris Bosh. With less than a minute to go, the Raptors led Denver by three after Andrea Bargnani‘s graceful one-hand floating banker (plus the foul) threatened to blow the roof off Toronto’s gym. Carmelo (25 pts) drove on Antoine Wright when it was his turn, getting fouled and missing both free throws, but the Raps lost the rebound out of bounds. And by the look on Bosh’s face, he knew something bad was about to happen. Sure enough, Chauncey Billups took the inbounds and in one motion, promptly tied it up with a corner three …

Carmelo Anthony, Dime #53

Bosh (18 pts, 12 rebs) then got a clear-out on Nene, and although he got stripped, the refs bailed him out with a weak foul call. Bosh split the free throws. Denver ball, ‘Melo bricked a jumper, but Nene (20 pts, 9 rebs, 6 asts, 3 stls) corralled the loose ball and Chauncey whipped it right back to ‘Melo, who drained a jumper from the same spot at the buzzer. Painful … No idea why Scott Brooks would put Kevin Durant (26 pts) and Russell Westbrook (23 pts, 4 stls) back in — and never take Jeff Green out — when the Thunder were up 25 on the Lakers in the fourth quarter; luckily nobody got hurt. But it did give us a chance to see KD matched up 1-on-1 with Adam Morrison (“He almost never plays,” said one OKC announcer). Only three years ago, when Morrison was coming off his rookie year and KD was getting drafted, this still had a slight chance to be a Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins type rivalry of the next generation. What happened? … The Nets have done it. Well, they kinda did it. By beating the Pistons last night in a game that lasted 15 minutes longer than anybody wanted it to — Brook Lopez put up 37 points while Yi Jianlian had 31 points — Jersey won their 9th game of the season, meaning they can only tie the mark for worst record of all-time. By setting season-highs in points (118), field goal percentage and assists, does this mean they’re peaking at the right time? Is it too late for a playoff push? … Not that the Nets didn’t do everything they possibly could to give the game away. Leading by six with 1:40 remaining, they committed three turnovers in their next four possessions, including an 8-second violation. If the Pistons had bothered to capitalize on that window, they could’ve stolen a win. During that stretch, one of N.J.’s announcers said, “Now here’s where the basics of basketball come into play.” Yeah, that’s kinda been the problem all year … Other stat lines from Friday: Manu Ginobili scored 30 points to lead San Antonio past Cleveland; D-Wade dropped 30 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals on the Bucks in a win; Kevin Garnett had 18 points, 13 boards and 4 blocks to beat Sacramento, while Rajon Rondo handed out 18 dimes; Dwight Howard put up 24 points, 19 boards and 4 blocks as Orlando beat Minnesota; Danny Granger hung 44 points (15-23 FG) on Utah as Indiana won big; Andre Iguodala had 25 points, 10 boards and 9 assists in Philly’s win over Atlanta; Ray Felton went for 19 points and 11 dimes to lead Charlotte past Washington; and Amar’e and Leandro Barbosa scored 18 apiece to lead six Suns in double figures as they destroyed the Knicks … We’re out like Farokhmanesh …

Around The Web