Shabazz Napier scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and Connecticut beat Michigan State 60-54 to return to the Final Four a year after the Huskies were barred from the N.C.A.A. tournament.
Napier hit three huge free throws with 37.6 seconds left in the East Regional final at Madison Square Garden to carry UConn to the Final Four just as Kemba Walker did in Napier’s freshman year.
The Huskies (30-8) rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to become the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Fourth-seeded Michigan State’s seniors become the first four-year players recruited by Tom Izzo to fail to reach the Final Four. Gary Harris led the Spartans (29-9) with 22 points.
There was a heavy police presence in East Lansing in preparation for student celebration in case of a win, but Michigan Radio reporter Steve Carmody says the scene remained calm and the streets quiet following the loss.