Michigan State adopted an exciting last-second win by blowing a giant lead in opposition to a worn-down opponent and discovering itself trailing late within the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Tom Izzo’s Spartans superior anyway with toughness and tenacity within the recreation’s important moments for the second straight day.

A.J. Hoggard hit the go-ahead free throws with 30.3 seconds left and Michigan State scored the ultimate 9 factors to push previous No. 22 Connecticut 64-60 in Thursday’s semifinals, incomes a visit to Friday’s championship recreation.

“It’s something Coach has harped on us from the very beginning: just make the winning plays,” mentioned Malik Hall, who had a giant late steal and two free throws. “It’s something he’s been talking about since yesterday and the day before that.”

At the least, Izzo may have one other set of examples in making that time once more.

It was one other tense end for each groups after their first-round video games had loads of late-game drama — together with two further intervals for the Huskies in a draining 115-109 win in opposition to No. 19 Auburn. But Michigan State did sufficient to take again momentum after the Huskies had gone up 60-55 with 1:41 left.

The Spartans (5-1) held the Huskies to 1-for-9 capturing within the ultimate 3 minutes. The ultimate cease got here with the Huskies (5-1) getting an opportunity to tie. But after a protracted stretch of dribbling, Jalen Gaffney fired up a troublesome straightaway 3 that fell in need of all the things.

Tyson Walker hit a clinching free throw with 2.5 seconds left, sending the Spartans skipping into the tunnel and waving their arms alongside the way in which to their celebrating followers behind their bench.

Gabe Brown scored 16 factors to lead the Spartans, who led 32-18 earlier than halftime and shot simply 32% after the break.

Adama Sonogo had 18 factors and 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies, whereas Tyrese Martin added 16 factors and 12 boards regardless of being unsure to play due to a sprained left wrist suffered within the Auburn win. The Huskies made simply 2 of 16 3-pointers after making 15 of 26 within the Auburn win.

“We made some execution mistakes down the stretch in the game,” UConn coach Dan Hurley mentioned. “It wasn’t a lack of effort. It wasn’t a lack of guys giving their best. Michigan State’s really, really good and we blew it.”

BIG PICTURE

UConn: Wednesday’s 115-109 win in opposition to the Tigers was a March-esque thriller, however regrouping from it to play once more in lower than 24 hours was a serious problem. It did not assist that UConn did not have ahead Isaiah Whaley, who sat out after fainting briefly following a 43-minute effort within the Auburn recreation.

“We knew what it was before we even came to this game,” Martin mentioned. “We knew we had to take care of our bodies. Every team had to play three games in three days, so we can’t sit here and use that as an excuse.

“Yes it was a gradual begin, we ended up rallying again. But we simply weren’t powerful sufficient on the finish” to win.

Michigan State: The Spartans needed an alley-oop dunk by Marcus Bingham Jr. with 3.4 seconds left to beat Loyola Chicago. This time, they overcame the Huskies’ second-half surge for another tight win against an NCAA Tournament team from last season.

SHOT SELECTION

Brown had a testy second-half moment with one of his teammates.

Brown fouled Martin on a transition dunk as UConn went up 55-48, then stood — fists clenched — glaring toward Bingham as they began to head back to the huddle. He called out for him a few times as he pursued, then shoved Bingham with two hands as he got back to the huddle.

Brown said the subject of the disagreement was Bingham’s shot selection on an air-balled jumper a possession earlier.

“Every time he goes to the center, he can rating,” Brown said. “That’s what Coach harps on. So when he took that shot, I used to be heated.”

“I used to be loving it,” Izzo added.

TOUGH CALL

UConn point guard R.J. Cole had 10 points before fouling out on Hoggard’s drive with 30.3 seconds left. Hurley was furious from across the court and let the officials have it, thinking that Cole had gotten enough ball for a tie-up call.

“That’s a troublesome name,” Hurley said, adding: “I imply, we misplaced as a result of we made numerous errors, Michigan State didn’t. They made the performs.”

UP NEXT

UConn: The Huskies will play in Friday’s third-place recreation in opposition to VCU.

Michigan State: The Spartans superior to Friday’s championship recreation to face No. 6 Baylor.