The Spartans great experience in tournament play showed as they executed big time down the stretch in outdueling a game and tough as nails Tennessee Volunteer squad.
Michigan State opened their biggest lead of the game at eight with 11:40 in the second half before both squads went ice cold from the field.
Tennessee's ragged pursuit of point guard Korie Lucious, who persevered despite being exhausted, forced Draymond Green into a role of a point forward late in the ball game. The Volunteers went on an 11-2 run to take the lead at 61-61 with 5:30 remaining.
The game remained nip-and-tuck until a series of events decided the game. With the game tied at 66-apiece Durrell Summers knocked down a critical three pointer, three of his game-high 21 points. But UT's Brian Williams dunked his offensive rebound of a missed shot to put the Vols down by just one.
Korie Lucious missed the front end of a one-and-one and MSU fouled Scotty Hopson, a career 59% free throw shooter. But Hopson drilled the first, tieing the game, before missing the second.
MSU rushed the ball up the court and UT fouled Raymar Morgan setting up his heroics. J.P. Prince missed a desperation three-point attempt.
The win stamps MSU's Tom Izzo as the top head coach in College Basketball (see Izzo is NCAA's best article). Michigan State now has a date with Butler University in Indianapolis, IN next weekend in the Final Four.