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Michigan State’s NCAA Tournament Run Ends as Duke Advances to Championship [Photos]

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Michigan State‘s run through the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament came to a halt Saturday night as the Spartans lost to top-seeded Duke 81-61.

Denzel Valentine had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Travis Trice 16 points as Michigan State fell in the NCAA Final Four semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Branden Dawson added 12 points for the seventh-seeded Spartans, who finished 27-12.

The Blue Devils (34-4) got 19 points from Justise Winslow, 18 points from Jahlil Okafor and 17 points from Quinn Cook. The win put Duke in the championship game on Monday night seeking its fifth NCAA title.

Michigan State started out with a 14-6 lead, hitting five of its first seven shots. But the Spartans finished three of 20 shots from the field the rest of the half as the Blue Devils clamped down on defense for an 11-point halftime lead 36-25.

In the second half, Duke built a 54-34 lead before five Trice points stemmed the Blue Devils’ surge. But it was Duke the rest of the way as Michigan State didn’t get any closer than 13 points in the final 20 minutes.

The Spartans had lost to Duke 81-71 in November also in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

It was the Spartans’ ninth appearance in the Final Four and first since 2010. Michigan State won NCAA titles in 1979 and 2000 and was runner-up in 2009.

Duke has won four NCAA titles — in 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2010 — under Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in Division I history.

In the other Final Four semifinal match-up were top seeds Kentucky (38-0) and Wisconsin (35-3) battled Saturday night. The game was a rematch of an NCAA Final Four semifinal in 2014, which Kentucky won 74-73.

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Next: Interactive NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament Brackets

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