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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

Related Video

 
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 Word0-08-144
SF Austin0-09-370
Sam Houston0-07-4112
McNeese St.0-05-4141
Hou. Baptist0-04-5297
Nwestern St.0-04-5264
New Orleans0-03-4145
Abilene Christian0-04-6306
Lamar0-04-6243
Texas A&M-CC0-04-6316
SE Louisiana0-03-8244
Nicholls St.0-02-7319
C. Arkansas0-00-10347

Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Maryland0-011-127
Penn St.0-011-133
Wisconsin0-010-115
Indiana0-09-296
Minnesota0-09-265
Ohio St.0-09-254
Illinois0-09-343
Iowa0-08-4102
Michigan St.0-08-457
Northwestern0-08-4132
Purdue0-08-4119
Nebraska0-06-3104
Michigan0-06-5125
Rutgers0-06-5130
 
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FLA 77
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UK 89
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WISC 86
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DUKE 111
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ILLST 58 Final
VCU 96
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KAN 80
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ORE 82
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UNC 84
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