CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Tyler Ulis knew it was in as soon as the shot left his hands.
The junior's 7-foot jumper just before the buzzer saved face for Times No. 1 Marian Catholic as it beat Brother Rice 69-67 on Tuesday before a full house which included Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
"When I let it go, I saw it had the right spin on it and it would go in," Ulis said. "I knew I had to get a little closer to the basket, maybe drive the lane a little."
Ulis had missed a 3-pointer a few second earlier, but wanted the ball. All season, he has been the person teammates want to have the ball when the game is on the line.
"I knew I would be the one (to take the shot)," Ulis said. "I wanted the ball and I just wanted to get a good one off."
Ulis finished with 25 points. The Spartans (21-3) now have the second-most wins in program history, but it was not easy. They led 61-46 on a Ulis' three-point play with 5 minutes, 39 seconds left, but the Crusader (17-3) went on a 20-4 run to take a 66-65 lead on an Alex Majewski basket with 44.3 seconds left. Majewski finished with a game-high 29 points.
Marian's Kevin Phillips made two free throws with 33.1 second left to give Marian a 67-66 lead.
"I was a little nervous," Phillips said. "I missed some free throws down the stretch against St. Viator, which would have won the game for us."
Ulis said Izzo's presence did not make him nervous at all.
"He's seen me play before," Ulis said. "I was just trying to play my game and do what it takes to win."
Ulis said the Spartans did not get complacent with the big lead.
"Not at all," Ulis said. "We made some mistakes, but Rice came back and fought hard."
Ulis also had eight assists and two steals. T.J. Parham had 18 points and six rebounds, while John Oliver had six points and four blocks.