Duke defeats Michigan State to advance to title game

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 04, 2015 9:12 PM

April 4 (Reuters) - The Duke Blue Devils overcame an early deficit and defeated Michigan State Spartans 81-61 in a Final Four matchup on Saturday to advance to the U.S. collegiate national championship game.

Justise Winslow scored 19 points, Jahlil Okafor added 18 and the Blue Devils flexed their offense to set up Monday's title matchup with the winner of Saturday's second game between undefeated Kentucky and Wisconsin in Indianapolis.

The victory puts Duke in the national title game for the ninth time under coach Mike Krzyzewski, who won national titles in 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2010.

Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in college basketball's top level, also has coached the U.S. Olympic team to two gold medals, most recently at the 2012 London Games.

Duke took control late in the first half after trailing by eight points early. They led 36-25 at halftime before racing to a 20-point advantage in the second half.

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Denzel Valentine Jr. scored a game-high 22 points for the seventh-seeded Michigan State, who made a surprisingly strong showing in the NCAA Tournament.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Gene Cherry)