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Neitzel, Michigan State survive scare from Bradley

Dec 5, 2007 - 6:37 AM PEORIA, Illinois (Ticker) -- The way Bradley treated No. 10 Michigan State on Tuesday, it may be another 25 years before a top-10 team visits.

Drew Neitzel scored 13 points and overcame a poor shooting performance to help the Spartans avoid an upset with a 66-61 victory over the Braves.

Raymar Morgan scored 15 points and freshman Kalin Lucas added 13 for Michigan State, which shot 41 percent (24-of-58) from the floor.

The crowd was raucous in what was the first home game against a top-10 team for the Bradley since 1982 when it beat No. 8 Tulsa, 82-79, at Robertson Memorial Fieldhouse.

The Braves (6-3), who had won 29 straight at home over non-conference opponents, came out strong in front of a Carver Arena record crowd of 11,597, and took a 28-27 lead at the break.

Daniel Griffin scored 17 for the Braves, who led for most of the second half, but had just two field goals in the final 9:32.

With Bradley faltering, Michigan State rallied thanks to Neitzel. The senior guard, who shot just 4-of-16 from the floor, hit a huge 3-pointer to pull the Spartans within 51-50 with 4:49 to play.

Michigan State (7-1), which outrebounded Bradley, 42-20, took its first lead since 16-15 when Drew Naymick grabbed an offensive board and dunked it for a 52-51 advantage with 4:24 to play.

Lucas then hit a floater to stretch the lead to 54-51, and he drilled a 3-pointer minutes later to give the Spartans their biggest lead of the game at 57-53 with 2:52 left.

The Braves did not go away though as Theron Wilson hit a pair of free throws, and Matt Salley had a layup to make it 57-55 with 2:28 remaining.

But Goran Suton then stretched the lead to four points on a layup after a Michigan State timeout with 1:48 left.

The Spartans then hit its final six free throw attempts to seal the win.

The two teams played a back-and-forth first half, but Bradley broke a 17-17 tie with a 9-0 run which gave it a 26-17 cushion and helped it hold a one-point lead at the break.

In the second half, Daniel Ruffin snapped a 31-31 tie with a 3-pointer as the Braves went on to open up an eight-point lead at 42-33 with 13:58 left.

However, freshman Durrell Summers' layup capped a 6-0 run for the Spartans, and Bradley never led by more than four points the rest of the way.

Michigan State dominated inside, finishing with a 48-29 advantage on the boards that included 21 offensive boards.