No. 5 Michigan State cruises past North FloridaDec 18, 2013 - 3:53 AM East Lansing, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Adreian Payne poured in a game-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, as No. 5 Michigan State pounded North Florida, 78-48, on Tuesday at Breslin Center.
Branden Dawson donated 12 points and seven boards, while Denzel Valentine tallied 11 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Spartans (9-1), who have won two straight since suffering their lone loss of the season against North Carolina on Dec. 4.
Jalen Nesbitt netted 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Demarcus Daniels and Devin Wilson each supplied seven points for the Ospreys (5-7), who have dropped three straight and four of their last five games.
"When you are at our level and you have to play the schools we have to play, it gets tough on the kids," North Florida head coach Matthew Driscoll said. "Our effort is never a question and we are a very good team. I look forward to going back home and playing six of our next eight games at home."
Michigan State shot a scorching 70.8 percent (17-of-24) from the floor in the first half while holding North Florida to 21.9 percent (7-of-32) shooting to build a 50-19 advantage at the break.
MSU scored 10 of the game's first 12 points and led 21-4 following Alvin Ellis' three-point play just over seven minutes into the game.
"I was pleased by the way we started out," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "I thought we did a great job doing what we wanted to do."
The Spartans extended the margin late in the frame when Russell Byrd bookended a 16-4 surge with a pair of 3-pointers to push the spread to 43-14 with 3:14 left in the half.
Michigan State carried a 31-point cushion into the break and cruised to victory over the final 20 minutes.
It was the first-ever meeting between the schools on the hardwood ... Michigan State guard Gary Harris sat out for the third time in the team's last four games due to a right ankle injury ... North Florida shot 4-of-25 from 3-point range, including a 1-of-14 mark in the first half.
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