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McNeese State vs Michigan State

No. 2 Michigan State warms up for Kentucky with rout

CBSSports.com wire reports
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EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Gary Harris flourished, as expected, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the first half and finishing with a career-high 10 rebounds to help No. 2 Michigan State beat McNeese State 98-56 on Friday night in a tuneup for its next game against top-ranked Kentucky.

The Spartans, though, were pleasantly surprised by how well Branden Dawson and Travis Trice played in the season-opening rout.

Dawson scored 12 points, grabbed 12 rebounds -- one shy of his career high -- and had a career-high five assists.

Trice scored 11 points and had a career-high eight assists.

"Those were two big pluses," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

A year ago, Dawson was slowly recovering from major surgery on his left knee and Trice was coming back from what Izzo has called a "brain infection" that dropped 22 pounds off his slight frame.

Izzo said Trice was a difference-maker in the first half, allowing Michigan State to pull away after trailing briefly. Dawson seemed to respond well to a one-on-one talk after he was late to a recent meeting, leading to Izzo pulling him out of the starting lineup.

"We didn't run anything for [Dawson] and he was unbelievable," Izzo said. "He was the only guy in there rebounding at times and he was running. That's the Branden Dawson I thought we'd see. I'm happy for him. He's been through a lot."

Michigan State scored 10 consecutive points after trailing 13-12 early in the game and opened the second half with an 11-0 run to take a 63-25 lead.

The Spartans kept multiple starters in the game until there were 5 minutes left, when Dawson made a second straight dunk. They will face much tougher competition in Chicago against Kentucky.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the game on Tuesday," McNeese State coach Dave Simmons said unsolicited.

Izzo and a lot of college basketball fans are, too.

"We're going to have some problems with (Kentucky) matching up and they might have some problems with us," he said. "I'm looking forward to it. This is kind of what you dream of when you have a job like this to play the best and see where you are.

"It looks like an NBA team. It's a big, big team. Talented team. Well-coached team. Can't wait."

Michigan State had six scorers in double digits and outrebounded the Cowboys 66-29.

"Top to bottom, they're just a very deep basketball team and you can't underestimate anybody coming off the bench," Simmons said.

Denzel Valentine had 12 points and Keith Appling scored 11 for the Spartans while Adreian Payne had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

"Usually with a team this talented, you run into guys who are selfish," Trice said. "But that's not us."

The Spartans shot 52 percent and held McNeese State to 27.4 percent shooting, playing better at both ends of the court after a shaky start.

Michigan State had some success early -- making its first two shots, both 3-pointers -- before struggling to make open shots and get the ball into open spaces against the Cowboys' zone.

That led to McNeese State taking the lead, briefly, before getting outscored 40-12 the rest of the first half. The Spartans turned a 52-25 lead at halftime into a 38-point cushion early in the second half.

Michigan State scored 40 points on the fast break and turned 18 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points.

"I didn't know they were that great in transition," Simmons said.

"Hopefully, our identity is that we're going to run, but we have to rebound to run and we have to defend better," Izzo said.

Ledrick Eackles and Jamaya Burr led the Cowboys with 11 points each.

"Looking at what we did early, there's some positive things we're going to take back from this," Simmons said.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Michigan State freshman guard Alvin Ellis III drives past McNeese State forward Pete Kpan during the second half.  (USATSI)
Michigan State freshman guard Alvin Ellis III drives past McNeese State forward Pete Kpan during the second half. (USATSI)
Scoreboard
McNeese State (0-1)253156
Michigan State #2 (1-0) «524698
MCNSE:L. Eackles 11 Pts
MCNSE:K. Hardy 6 Reb
MCNSE:K. Hardy 3 Ast
MICHST:G. Harris 20 Pts
MICHST:B. Dawson 12 Reb
MICHST:T. Trice 8 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
McNeese StateMichigan State
MCNSE
Ledrick Eackles
MICHST
Gary Harris
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
115120106
McNeese State Cowboys
L. Eackles, G344-150-051211
K. Hardy, G332-111-26305
A. Fields, F312-90-03016
C. McFerrin, F-C252-81-16015
K. Garrett, G162-80-01114
J. Burr, G184-72-321011
S. Johnson, G163-90-01129
P. Kpan, F101-11-11223
B. Regis, G-F90-32-20102
A. Lewis, F50-10-20000
J. Wells, F30-10-00000
M. Mathieu, G10-00-00000
D. Guidry, FDid Not Play
M. Moss, CDid Not Play
A. Milovanovic, FDid Not Play
L. Potier, G-FDid Not Play
Totals 20-737-112510956
 27.4%63.6% 
Michigan State Spartans
G. Harris, G277-152-2106220
K. Appling, G234-82-264111
A. Payne, C235-90-0102110
D. Valentine, G225-90-053112
M. Costello, F163-40-13126
B. Dawson, G-F246-120-0125012
T. Trice, G234-80-058011
A. Gauna, F122-30-05014
G. Schilling, F102-30-05214
R. Byrd, G90-30-00020
A. Ellis III, G73-60-02116
D. Chapman, G10-00-00000
K. Wetzel, G10-00-00000
C. Wollenman, F10-00-00000
T. Bohnhoff, F11-10-01002
K. Kaminski, FDid Not Play
Totals 42-814-564321198
 51.9%80.0% 
Southland
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Incarn Word0-03-0147
McNeese St.0-02-189
Texas A&M-CC0-02-1140
Sam Houston0-03-2159
Nwestern St.0-02-2345
New Orleans0-01-1125
Abilene Christian0-01-2345
Hou. Baptist0-01-2195
SF Austin0-01-2125
Lamar0-01-3254
Nicholls St.0-00-2135
SE Louisiana0-00-3338
C. Arkansas0-00-4295

Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Indiana0-04-0188
Northwestern0-04-0129
Wisconsin0-04-071
Illinois0-03-0220
Maryland0-03-0249
Michigan0-03-081
Purdue0-03-0120
Ohio St.0-02-018
Minnesota0-03-1226
Penn St.0-03-1180
Michigan St.0-02-1176
Nebraska0-02-1103
Iowa0-02-288
Rutgers0-01-197
 
Other games
UNF 69 Final
FLA 77
MD 77 Final
CONN 78
UNCA 57 Final
UK 89
UMOH 62 Final
ND 74
CORN 60 Final
SYR 82
JMAD 41 Final
UVA 61
SJU 75 Final
WISC 86
DAV 77 Final
DUKE 111
MASL 42 Final
MICH 69
ILLST 58 Final
VCU 96
ULM 63 Final
KAN 80
STHR 56 Final
MU 63
MSST 62 Final
OKST 117
GU 75 Final
ORE 82
OAK 61 Final
UNC 84
COLO 60 Final
BAYL 72
CP 62 Final
ARIZ 73
DRXL 67 Final
UCLA 72