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Neitzel, Michigan State remain unbeaten at home

Dec 23, 2006 - 10:05 PM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- With their perfect home record suddenly in jeopardy, Drew Neitzel and Michigan State turned things up defensively.

Neitzel scored 22 points to lead the 25th-ranked Spartans to a 76-64 triumph over Wisconsin-Green Bay.

With the victory, Michigan State (12-2) improved to 10-0 at home this season. Neitzel, the team's point guard and leading scorer, once again paced the Spartans, handing out five assists while shooting 4-of-10 from beyond the arc.

"I think we made some strides today," Neitzel said. "We didn't play as good as we could have, but we did play better than the last two games."

The Spartans have won their last 25 home games against non-conference foes, but Michigan State coach Tom Izzo agreed with Neitzel that the team could have played better.

"As I told my team, all-in-all today was not a great performance," Izzo said. "It was a better performance offensively than defensively, and we needed that."

The win did not come easily for the Spartans, who built an eight-point halftime lead only to see their cushion shrink to 49-46 with 11:17 remaining.

"Our defense wasn't as good," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "UW-Green Bay did a great job with their ball screens, something we worked hard on for a couple of days and we didn't handle them very well. Some of the credit needs to go to Green Bay for that."

But Michigan State went on a 19-11 run over the next eight minutes, holding Wisconsin-Green Bay to just 3-of-10 shooting over that stretch.

"Michigan State's physicalness around the basket really hurt us tonight," Phoenix coach Tod Kowalczyk said. "I don't think we did a very good job defensively on their post guys. You have to give credit to them."

Spartans center Goran Suton scored six points during the pivotal outburst and finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

"You have to look at it from both sides," Suton said. "I realize that when the Big Ten season comes, it's going to get harder and harder."

Travis Walton scored 11 points and Isaiah Dahlman added 10 for Michigan State, which shot 55 percent (29-of-53) from the floor.

"I felt like we had the most positive things done offensively as far as ball movement, screening, and getting open shots," Izzo said. "We didn't make enough of our shots, but we had some great ball movement and got Drew open."

Mike Schachtner scored 14 points for the Phoenix (5-6), who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

    --- --- -----
    WISC GREEN BAY 28 36 64
    MICHIGAN ST (25) 36 40 76 FINAL

    Dec 23 1:52 PM


    Dec 23 12:46 PM