Michigan State got up off the mat and issued the knockout punch to the reeling Gophers with only 1:27 remaining winning 65-64 in Minneapolis against a game, but shorthanded Minnesota squad.
It was Kalin Lucas knocking down a clutch 3-pointer to give Michigan State their only lead of the game. That, combined with some solid down-the-stretch defense by MSU kept the Spartans undefeated conference streak intact.
Minnesota jumped out to an 12-3 lead, but MSU responded with an 8-2 run to keep it close early but MSU went cold during the midportion of the half as the Gophers built an eight-point halftime lead.
The Gophers eight point edge stood up through most of the second half and extended to as many as 13 until Raymar Morgan began to assert himself as the clock ticked under the seven minute mark.
Morgan made a layup, pulled down an offensive rebound and put in another while being fouled. His clutch free throw pulled MSU to within five and Kalin Lucas' three-pointer cut the Gopher lead to just two with 5:09 remaining.
The senior continued his heroics, grabbing a key defensive rebound and then blocking Ralph Sampson II before being fouled. He made two more at the free throw line to tie the score with 2:24 remaining. After the Gophers Lawrence Westbrook missed a triple, MSU got Lucas set up for the knockout and he delivered.
Damian Johnson responded with a jumper to cut it to the final margin, but after a timeout to set up a last gasp attempt to win it with :04 remaining, Westbrook's jumper went off the mark.
Things might have been different if recruits Royce White and Travor Mbakwe were able to suit up, but both have sat the entire season due to legal troubles and the Gophers were without starting point guard Al Nolen who was declared academically ineligible.
MSU happily takes the win and marches on to Ann Arbor to face Michigan at 7:00pm at Crisler Arena on Tuesday.