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Michigan State rolls past Chicago State in opener

Nov 14, 2007 - 3:45 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- It took about 10 minutes for No. 12 Michigan State to exert its dominance in its season opener.

The Spartans, whose exhibition season included a double-overtime loss to Division II Grand Valley State, scored 29 of the final 40 points of the first half and pulled away for an 86-53 victory over Chicago State in the first round of the CBE Classic on Tuesday.

Sophomore forward Raymar Morgan had career highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds for Michigan State, which has now won 30 of its last 31 season openers.

"I just gave it everything I had," Morgan said. "I put a lot of effort into it. We prepared really well."

Morgan sat out the Spartans' last exhibition game due to academic reasons.

"I felt like I let a lot of people down and I had to make it up to my team, family and everybody in the community," Morgan said. "I felt I needed to play great tonight."

Chris Allen finished with 13 points while Drew Neitzel and Durrell Summers each had 12 for Michigan State, which will face Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday in the final of the East Lansing Regional. The Warhawks (1-1) defeated Northern Michigan (0-1) in the first game Tuesday, 60-53.

The Spartans, who returned all five starters from last year, haven't dropped a home opener since a 74-73 loss to Western Michigan on December 4, 1976.

"They're who we thought they were, they're good," Cougars coach Benjy Taylor said. "They're strong and physical. They played with a different pace tonight."

Morgan, whose previous highs were 19 points and nine rebounds, had 15 points and six rebounds in the first half.

"He (Morgan) was everywhere, on offensive rebounds, running the floor and getting layups on fast breaks," Neitzel said. "He had a great game. If he can be that consistent scoring and rebounding guy for us, that's going to help our team out tremendously."

David Holston scored eight of his 18 points in the first half for Chicago State, which shot 28 percent (9-for-32) from the field in the opening 20 minutes.

Mike Wilson's 3-pointer gave the Cougars (0-2) a 15-14 lead with 11:24 left in the first half, but it was the last time Chicago State held the advantage.

Leading, 26-22, after a 3-pointer from Holston, Michigan State went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:07 to take a 13-point lead. Allen had four free throws before Morgan scored on a tip and followed with a 3-pointer.

The second half was a formality for the Spartans, who took a 20-point lead on a dunk by Goran Suton with 18:08 left. Drew Naymick's basket with 8:38 to play gave Michigan State a 68-38 lead. Isaiah Dahlman's free throw with 37 seconds left provided the Spartans with their biggest lead of the game at 86-51.

John Cantrell and Chidozie Chukwumah each had points 10 for the Cougars.

"I thought the young guys played well, the bigs have a ways to go yet but we started to make a little bit of progress," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "The defensive job we did on Holston, he worked for every point he got and he still made some big buckets, but I was pleased with that. I thought we did a pretty good job on Cantrell."

The winner of Wednesday's game advances to the tournament's final four, which will be held November 19-20 in Kansas City, Missouri.