for this game

Morgan, Michigan State blow past Jacksonville

Dec 2, 2007 - 4:03 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Michigan State's size on the inside proved to be too much for Jacksonville to handle.

Raymar Morgan had 24 points and seven rebounds as the 13th-ranked Spartans dominated the paint en route to an 80-51 victory over Jacksonville on Saturday.

"I can't say it felt like a 29-point win, mostly because it wasn't a 29-point win - it was a closer game than the final score," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "Raymar Morgan was very, very good and that's a positive. I would say that was one of Raymar's best all-around games."

Michigan State (6-1) outscored the Dolphins, 46-20, on points in the paint as the Spartans have won six of their first seven games for the second straight season.

Michigan State led by 10 points at the half and maintained a double digit lead throughout the final 20 minutes. Leading, 62-48, midway through the second half, Morgan scored all 10 points - on layups and free throws - on a 10-0 run that expanded its lead to 72-48 with 5:39 left.

"They did an excellent job of getting out and getting some easy baskets in transition," Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren said. "We were trying to make some shots and get into our press so we could slow them down. Unfortunately, we didn't make enough shots in the second half to do that."

Marquise Gray had 11 points and Drew Neitzel added 10 and seven assists for the Spartans, who had 23 assists on 29 baskets.

Neitzel, last season's leading scorer for the Spartans, was held scoreless in the first half and shot 3-of-7 overall for the game.

"We have to find better ways to get me the ball in scoring areas and I need to be more aggressive," Neitzel said. "If they are going to take my scoring away, that's when I get the assists."

"He just has not gotten enough shots and some of that is his unselfishness early," Izzo said. "We are not getting him enough shots, and some of that is our problem."

Jacksonville, which has one player bigger than 6-7 on its roster, shot 38 percent (21-of-55) from the field, while Michigan State connected on 56 percent of its attempts (29-of-52).

The Dolphins scored the first hoop - their only lead of the game - before the Spartans answered with 13 straight points to take a 13-2 lead with 14:31 to play.

Jacksonville cut the deficit to 28-23 with 3:32 to play in the half but Michigan State pushed its advantage back to double digits and led 38-28 at the break.

Ben Smith scored 16 points on 7-of-9 from the floor to lead the Dolphins (3-3), who have lost three games in a row.

The contest ended a three-game homestand for the Spartans, who travel to Bradley on Tuesday and host No. 23 Brigham Young on December 8.

"We have to play a lot better if we are going to win this week, let's be real about it," Izzo said. "So we will take the positives and try to build on them and take the negatives and try to work on them, and see if we can get ready for one of the more treacherous weeks on our schedule."

    --- --- -----
    JACKSONVILLE 28 23 51
    MICHIGAN ST (13) 38 42 80 FINAL

    Dec 1 9:01 PM


    Dec 1 7:53 PM