LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Top-seeded Duke University and their superstar Zion Williamson were toppled by Michigan State Sunday as the Final Four were set in the NCAA collegiate basketball championship.
The Blue Devils, crowned NCAA champions six times under iconic coach Mike Krzyzewski, fell 68-67 to bow out of the “March Madness” knockout competition that is one of the highlights of the US sporting calendar.
Kenny Goins drained a three-pointer with 35 seconds left that put the Spartans ahead for good and Duke went scoreless on their final three possessions as the second-seeded Michigan State reached the semi-finals.
Duke saw their season end in the quarter-finals dubbed the Elite Eight for the second straight year.
Williamson scored 24 points with 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots in what was almost certainly the finale of his collegiate career.
At 18, he has already drawn comparisons to NBA superstar LeBron James and is expected to announce his plans to enter next June’s NBA draft, in which he is a likely No. 1 choice.
Duke wasn’t the only favorite to miss out on a trip to the Final Four, which will take place April 6-8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Auburn reached the semi-finals for the first time with a 77-71 overtime win over Kentucky – having already beaten perennial contenders Kansas and North Carolina.
Texas Tech are also in the Final Four for the first time after beting Gonzaga 75-69.
Michigan State will play Texas Tech in one national semi-final Saturday in Minneapolis. Auburn will take on the University of Virginia, who advanced with an 80-75 overtime win over Purdue.