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Neitzel, Michigan State upset Texas

Nov 17, 2006 - 5:19 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- After losing three teammates to the NBA, Drew Neitzel wanted to show Michigan State fans there is still reason for hope.

Neitzel scored 15 points, including the game-winning layup in the waning seconds, as Michigan State posted a 63-61 victory over No. 18 Texas in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

The junior guard took the inbounds pass with eight seconds left and the score deadlocked at 61-61, dribbled to the top of the key, then hesitated before driving the middle of the lane for a layup with 2.4 seconds left.

"It just seemed like everything was in slow motion," Neitzel said. "I made the move and I just wanted to really concentrate on making the layup in that situation. I was so wide open, I just wanted to concentrate.

"I was shocked (at how little contact there was). I think everybody was pressing up on us. We had good spacing on the floor."

After a Texas timeout, A.J. Abrams - who nailed eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 28 points in the Longhorns' 92-66 win over Chicago State last Friday - launched a shot just inside the half court line that bounced off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded.

"I think when the game was there to be had by either one of us, they got what they needed on the offensive boards and got the extra possession," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We had some looks that I would like to have, but down the stretch we didn't play together like we need to do in terms of making the extra pass."

Michigan State (4-0) will play Maryland for the championship on Friday night. The Terrapins (4-0) beat St. John's, 92-60, in the other semifinal earlier Thursday.

"We got lucky, we won a game tonight," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "It's going to help us grow a little bit and get a little confidence and hopefully we can make some small strides."

Neitzel is the lone starter remaining from the team that went 22-12 in the 2005-06 season. Three of his ex-teammates - Maurice Ager, Shannon Brown and Paul Davis - currently reside on NBA rosters while the fourth member, Matt Trannon, is playing for the Spartans football team.

Raymar Morgan scored 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting and Maurice Joseph added 12 for Michigan State, which shot 42 percent (22-of-53) from the field. Neitzel hit three 3-pointers for the Spartans, who made 50 percent (9-of-18) from the arc.

"I was shocked that (Neitzel) got through there, personally," Morgan said. "That was just an amazing play how he broke that down and found a way to score."

Abrams made six 3-pointers and had 22 points while talented freshman Kevin Durant added 21 for the Longhorns (2-1), who shot 36 percent (22-of-62).

It was Michigan State's first win in three tries vs. Texas with all of the meetings coming at neutral sites.

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