INDIANAPOLIS - Denzel Valentine's start to the Final Four was the stuff of dreams - three quick three-pointers and an early lead for Michigan State.
He spent the rest of the night looking at a wall of white jerseys.
Valentine finished with 22 points, but the Spartans fell flat after that bright beginning, losing, 81-61, to Duke in the national semifinal Saturday night.
"They did a good job of taking me away," Valentine said. "I got hot, and they started denying a little bit, and started forcing us to take bad shots."
After looking so comfortable early on, Michigan State ended up shooting only 40 percent for the game. The Spartans missed 10 of their last 11 shots in the first half, a stretch they couldn't afford against the favored Blue Devils.
So Michigan State's season ended in the national semifinals, and the seventh-seeded Spartans (27-12) looked very much like the underdog at a Final Four that included them and three No. 1 seeds.