INDIANAPOLIS -- Devoe Joseph wasn't going to let an errant desperation heave detour Minnesota's NCAA tourney quest.
So the sophomore came up with a different plan.He made two of his three 3-pointers during a decisive 10-0 overtime run, leading the Gophers to a 72-67 upset of No. 11 Michigan State in Friday's Big Ten tournament quarterfinals -- and perhaps into next week's bigger tournament.
"I was very composed, I was just really excited to win the game," Joseph said. "I was in the zone, to the point where I wasn't really thinking too much, I was just playing basketball."Joseph couldn't have scripted his night any better, though it was an emotional night.Game officials had twice had to separate players, calling a double technical after the second shoving match.And the Spartans (24-8) were playing short-handed after coach Tom Izzo suspended starting guard Chris Allen for not meeting responsibilities to his teammates. Allen, dressed in a white shirt and green-and-white striped tie, spent most of the night fidgeting at the end of the Spartans' bench. During timeouts, Allen encouraged teammates and he embraced Korie Lucious before the Spartans headed to the locker room at halftime.Afterward, Allen wouldn't talk."He was just trying to keep everybody motivated, telling people to take shots when they're there," Lucious said. "He was just being another coach on the sideline. We would have loved to have him on the court, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case today."Izzo did not say whether Allen's indefinite suspension would be extended into the NCAA tournament.He did acknowledge, though, that Allen's absence hurt the Spartans, especially against Minnesota's perimeter shooters.Joseph finished with 17 points, eight in overtime. He also had six rebounds and three 3s.Blake Hoffarber made four 3s and finished with 14 points, and the Gophers (20-12) were 10 of 23 from beyond the arc.It was enough to give Minnesota a third straight victory and set up a surprise semifinal contest with No. 6 Purdue on Saturday. The defending tourney champs rallied to beat Northwestern 69-61 earlier Friday. The day's other upset came in the afternoon session when No. 13 Wisconsin lost 58-54 to Illinois.The Gophers are hoping they've done enough to impress the NCAA selection committee."We all watch ESPN and we all see who's on the bubble and we've been in that talk," senior Lawrence Westbrook said after scoring 11 points. "For us to get in there, we have to get quality wins. Everybody collectively gave 100 percent effort to move toward our resume for the tournament."Minnesota could have made it much easier after leading for all but 90 seconds of the final 29:58 in regulation.Michigan State rallied in the final 3:24, going on a 7-0 run to finally tie it on Raymar Morgan's layup with 1:30 to go. Morgan finished with 23 points and six rebounds to lead the Spartans.Both teams had chances to win it in the final five seconds, but 2008 Big Ten player of the year Kalin Lucas lost the ball out of bounds with 3.9 seconds left and Joseph's desperation heave was off the mark.It didn't take Joseph long to make amends.Sixteen seconds after Morgan completed a three-point play to open overtime, Joseph hit a 3 to tie it. Westbrook free throw made it 59-58 and Joseph followed that with another 3, giving the Gophers a 62-58 lead with 2:26 to go.Michigan State couldn't get closer than three the rest of the way, losing for just the second time in seven games."He put his team on his back and he carried them," Spartans forward Draymond Green said of Joseph. "He hit some tough shots, but tough shots or not, we still have to defend him. He played like a warrior and he rallied his troops."Lucas finished with 18 points for the Spartans. Colton Iverson had 12 points and four rebounds for Minnesota.