for this game

Joseph continues to step up as Michigan St. dumps IPFW

Dec 7, 2006 - 2:43 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Sophomore Maurice Joseph certainly responded to increased playing time.

Joseph was one of four players in double figures with 13 points as No. 25 Michigan State continued its unbeaten start at home with an 80-43 rout of IPFW.

Making his first career start due to the right leg injury to freshman Raymar Morgan, Joseph continued his sizzling shooting from outside, making 4-of-6 3-pointers.

"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive," Joseph said. "While Raymar is out, a lot of guys are going to have to step up and bring a little more of everything because he brought a lot for us. Guys have to step up and I was fortunate to hit some shots tonight."

The Spartans' top-scoring reserve at 8.0 points per game entering the contest, Joseph has connected on 20-of-45 (44 percent) of his attempts from the arc this season.

"He's a great scorer," junior point guard Drew Neitzel said. "We need him to knock down shots. That's his role, to knock down shots and open things and take some pressure off some guys. If he can do that and be consistent, hopefully he can build off this game."

Neitzel and Marquise Gray also scored 13 points for Michigan State (8-2), which improved to 7-0 at home.

"We just like playing here," Neitzel said. "It's a huge home-court advantage, not just this year but since coach (Tom) Izzo has been coaching. We have a great record and I think teams fear a little bit coming in here and playing."

While Joseph stepped up in the starting lineup, freshman guard Isaiah Dahlman filled the sophomore's role as the top guard off the bench, scoring nine points and handing out four assists in 27 minutes.

"We felt like we needed to get (Dahlman) more and more time, and I thought he made some good moves with the ball," Izzo said. "But, I think I'm most impressed with his defense."

The Mastodons (3-6) took the lead when Tyler Best hit a 3-pointer in the opening moments, but the Spartans responded with a 12-0 run to take control. That lead grew to 15 at the half as Michigan State cruised thereafter.

After shooting 56 percent (15-of-27) from the field in the first half, the Spartans turned up the defensive pressure in the second, holding IPFW to just three field goals after the break.

"We came into this game thinking we had a shot and we were certainly wrong," said Mastodons coach Dane Fife, who team lost here, 84-73, last year. "I just can't believe the level coach Izzo and his staff have his kids playing.

"I don't want to compare them to last year's team, but they played this game significantly tougher than I thought they played last year. I think as a team they are so much tougher and the intensity is right where a Michigan State team usually has the intensity."

That intensity completely wore down IPFW, which shot just 14 percent (3-of-21) in the second half and 27 percent (13-of-49) for the game.

"We told our kids to be ready," Fife said about his halftime speech. "They're going to come out and throw a haymaker at us and they did and they connected. That's the sign of a very good basketball team. They went into the half with a 15-point lead and they came out swinging."

Best scored 12 points for IPFW, which fell to 0-3 all-time against the Big Ten Conference team.

Mastodons' leading scorer DeWitt Scott was held without a point as he struggled with foul problems, missing all three of his attempts in just 18 minutes. The 6-6 forward entered the game averaging 11.8 points on 49 percent shooting.

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    IPFW 24 19 43
    MICHIGAN ST (25) 39 41 80 FINAL

    Dec 6 8:59 PM

    IPFW 24

    Dec 6 7:51 PM