UCLA to Face Michigan State

Tuesday, November 20th 2007, 7:23 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had just finished going over a grueling game against Missouri when he was asked about facing No. 2 UCLA in the CBE Classic championship game Tuesday night.

``Why ruin a good night?'' Izzo asked with a halfhearted laugh.

No doubt, it isn't going to be easy for the 10th-ranked Spartans. They had all kinds of trouble with Missouri's relentless defensive pressure and now have to switch gears to face a big, athletic UCLA team that features burly freshman Kevin Love.

``It's going to be a completely different prep, so it's going to be a long night,'' Izzo said. ``What we went against tonight to what we'll go against tomorrow, guys that didn't post up much to guys that post up all the time, guys that take you off the dribble now to guys who are just going to beat you out.''

Michigan State (3-0) certainly had trouble with the speedy guys of Missouri. Drew Neitzel made sure they came away with a win for all their trouble.

The preseason All-American made a late 3-pointer and hit two free throws with 2.4 seconds left, helping the Spartans survive Missouri's pressure in an 86-83 victory Monday night.

In the other semifinal, Love scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, helping second-ranked UCLA overcome a sloppy first half in a 71-59 victory over Maryland.

In the only other Top 25 games, No. 11 Marquette held off Chaminade 74-63 and No. 13 Duke routed Princeton 83-61, both at the Maui Inviational.

Neitzel had little trouble getting where he wanted when he wanted in the first half, spotting up for 3-pointers, flicking in fadeaways, whipping passes across the court and through the lane. The preseason All-American had 16 points at the break, but made only one of the four shots he took in the second _ the biggest of the game.

Michigan State (3-0) struggled all night with Missouri's full-court pressure, twice losing double-digit leads. The Spartans seemed to have the game all but won when Neitzel hit a 3-pointer with just over 2 minutes left, but the Tigers (3-1) kept coming.

Stefhon Hannah hit three 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds, the last an off-balance heave with 3.5 seconds left that hit the rim and bounced in to cut Michigan State's lead to 84-83. The Tigers fouled Neitzel immediately and the preseason All-American calmly sank both free throws for the Spartans' toughest win of the season.

``The second half they tried to deny me the ball, keep it out of my hands and let me get the ball in scoring position,'' Neitzel said.

UCLA had its own set of problems against Maryland (3-1).

The Bruins (4-0) had just eight scholarship players in uniform due to injuries to several key players and it showed early with numerous turnovers and bad shots. But the Bruins, led by Love's crisp passing against Maryland's press, settled things down by the second half.

UCLA shot just 37 percent, including 4-of-13 from 3-point range, but out-rebounded the Terrapins 44-29.

``To win shooting 37 percent says a lot about our defense,'' UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

No. 11 Marquette 74, Chaminade 63

At Lahaina, Hawaii, Jerel McNeal scored eight of his 22 points in a late 11-2 run that let Marquette hold off upset-minded Chaminade in the opening round.

Chaminade, the Division II host of this eight-team tournament, was able to get within three points in the second half, immediately recalling the Silverswords' shocking upset of Virginia almost 25 years ago.

But McNeal keyed the deciding run with a tip-in of a missed free throw and three baskets on the break to let the Golden Eagles get some breathing room.

The Golden Eagles (3-0) will face Oklahoma State in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Lazar Hayward added 15 points for Marquette, which is making its first appearance on Maui, while Dominic James and David Cubbilan both had 11.

No. 13 Duke 83, Princeton 61

At Lahaina, Hawaii, Freshman forward Kyle Singler had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Duke stayed perfect on Maui.

Duke, which won the title here in 1992, 1997 and 2001, is 10-0 on the island and six of the wins have been by 20 points or more. The Blue Devils had that big a lead against Princeton seven minutes into this game.

Gerald Henderson had 12 points and Jon Scheyer added 10 for the Blue Devils (3-0), who will play Illinois in the semifinals Tuesday.

Lincoln Gunn had 16 points to lead the Tigers (2-1).