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Michigan State holds off Northern Iowa 59-52

Michigan State players celebrate in the closing seconds

Michigan State players celebrate in the closing seconds of their 59-52 win over Northern Iowa. (March 26, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

ST. LOUIS - No big shots from Ali Farokhmanesh. No mid-major magic.

Just another trip to the regional final for Michigan State.

Durrell Summers scored 19 points and Korie Lucious hit a whirling turnaround jumper with about 90 seconds left, helping the fifth-seeded Spartans survive a scare with a 59-52 win over pesky Northern Iowa in the Midwest Regional semifinals Friday night.

Playing without injured star Kalin Lucas, Michigan State (27-8) needed a half to get used to Northern Iowa's grinding style. The Spartans held the Panthers to 10 free throws and no field goals in the final 10:22 to send the heroes of the Heartland home empty-handed.

Northern Iowa (30-5) knocked off one March monster but couldn't make it two straight, unable to contain the athletic Spartans for an entire game after stunning top-seeded Kansas in the second round.

Adam Koch had 13 points for the Panthers, but Farokhmanesh, the early-round hero, was just 1-for-6 from three-point range.

Michigan State, last year's national runner-up, turned the game on defense in the second half, escaping with a difficult win as Lucas watched from the bench in a walking boot.

Lucious hit his acrobatic shot and Chris Allen followed with a putback with 31 seconds left, putting the Spartans up 57-51 and on their way to Sunday's regional final against sixth-seeded Tennessee.

A few years back, maybe this was a mismatch: the powerhouse from the Big Ten against the scrappy mid-major. Not this year.

Northern Iowa has done its best to shake the underdog tag, reaching the NCAA Tournament five of the past seven years.

Under coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State has been to the NCAA Tournament 13 straight years, with seven trips to the round of 16, five Final Fours and a national title in 2000.

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