- Saturday, March 18 1978 -
NCAA Mideast Regional Finals (at Dayton, OH)
Kentucky - 52 (Head Coach: Joe B. Hall) - [Final Rank 1st by AP]
Michigan State - 49 (Head Coach: Jud Heathcote) - [Final Rank 4th by AP and 5th by UPI]
Halftime Score: Michigan State 27, Kentucky 22
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Miami (OH) 91 - 69|||||Arkansas 64 - 59|
Game Writeup - by Associated Press, New York Times
Kentucky Downs Mich. State, 52-49
DAYTON, Ohio, March 18 -- Kyle Macy scored 18 points and sparked a late second-half comeback drive today that carried top-ranked Kentucky to a 52-49 victory over Michigan State in the final of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Mideast Regional basketball tournament.
Macy, a sophomore transfer student from Purdue, scored 9 points -- all but two of them from the free-throw line -- in the last 6:16 of the game as the Wildcats moved into the national semifinals next Saturday in St. Louis.
Kentucky, which had fallen behind after shooting only 40 percent from the field in the first half, finally went ahead on two free throws by Mike Phillips with 7:02 left in the game. From that point, all of Kentucky's points, except for a 3-point play by Macy, were scored on free throws.
It was the lowest scoring effort of the year for the Wildcats, who are seeking their first N.C.A.A. championship since 1958.
Greg Kelser, who scored 19 points, put Michigan State into its biggest lead, 31-24, with about 19 minutes to go in the game. The teams then began trading baskets before Macy scored 3 straight points that put the Wildcats within two, 35-33, before James Lee stole the ball and went in to tie the score with 10:42 remaining in the game.
The Spartans were plagued by foul trouble down the stretch, with their freshman scoring sensation, Earvin Johnson, picking up his fourth foul with 9:19 remaining in the game. He returned a short time later but finished the game considerably below his scoring average of 17.4 with only 6 points.
With 2:43 remaining, the Spartans lost their only senior starter, Robert Chapman, and they also lost the services of Terry Donnelly a short time later.
The Spartans shot 58 percent from the field in the first half and went into a 23-22 lead with 3:06 remaining when Johnson scored. The freshman star hit on two free throws 10 seconds later to put Michigan State in front.
Kentucky failed to score for several minutes after Jack Givens had put the Wildcats ahead, 22-21, with a basket with 3:50 left to play in the first half. The Wildcats' offense, which averaged 85.4 points through 28 games, began to sputter when they began a slow pattern type of play with about seven minutes to go. At that point, Michigan State had pulled within one point, 20-19.
Spartans Move Into Lead
The Wildcats saw a 4-point advantage eaten away when the Spartans took the lead for the first time on a basket by freshman center Jay Vincent with about 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Kelser scored 9 of his team's first 15 points but it wasn't enough to compensate for the early dominance of Kentucky's three senior starters - Mike Phillips, Rick Robey and Jack Givens -- who scored all but 2 points in helping their team build an early 14-10 lead.
Michigan State, which won its first outright Big Ten championship since 1959, finished the season at 25-5. Kentucky won its 28th game in 30 starts.
Kyle Macy (#4) starts the break while defends by Earvin Johnson. Mike Phillips (#55) is seen in the background.
MSU's Greg Kelser scores over Mike Phillips
Kyle Macy nails down the victory at the line