Michigan State continues mastery of NorthwesternJan 25, 2008 - 7:19 AM EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Raymar Morgan and Michigan State did not even give Northwestern a hint that they would lose.
Morgan scored 23 points - including 12 in the first half - as the No. 10 Spartans cruised to their 10th straight win over the Wildcats with 78-62 victory on Thursday.
Drew Neitzel had 20 points and freshman Chris Allen chipped in a season high-tying 17 for Michigan State (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten), which captured its third straight win after some major offensive struggles in a 43-36 loss at Iowa on January 12.
Those scoring woes appeared to be nothing more than a distant memory, especially after Morgan had seven points and Neitzel hit two 3-pointers during a game-opening 15-5 burst.
"Well, we set up a few things that we wanted to do offensively, we got a couple of good looks," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "We hit two threes in the first four baskets, that was good."
After Northwestern cut that deficit to six points, Allen and Neitzel sandwiched a basket from the arc around a jumper by freshman Kalin Lucas for a 25-11 advantage with 9:18 remaining.
Allen added two more 3-pointers in the next three minutes and scored 12 points in the opening 20 minutes as the Spartans held a 41-31 lead at the break.
The long-range shooting did not stop after the intermission, as Neitzel knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 4 1/2 minutes of the second half for a 53-31 cushion.
"Starting the game and starting the second half, they just jumped on us," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody. "We went down 10 quickly and sort of got back and hung in there. Then they outscored us 12-0 to start the (second) half and that's basically the game."
Overall, the Spartans went 11-of-18 (61 percent) from the arc, with Neitzel going 6-of-10 from long range.
"All in all, our shooting, I mean we don't normally shoot the ball that good, although we do have a pretty good shooting team," Izzo said. "It was nice to see our 3-point shooters shoot well, especially Drew Neitzel. He is continuing to progress."
"He made shots," Carmody said of Neitzel. "He's a very good player. I don't know if he's the heart and soul of the team, but you always have to be aware of him. Like a wide receiver you've got to double team, it leaves other guys open. I didn't want to do that and it showed."
Northwestern (6-10, 0-6), the lone winless team in Big Ten, was unable to whittle that deficit down to 10 points until Craig Moore's jumper made it 72-62 with 1:45 remaining.
Moore had 15 of his career-high 28 points after intermission.
Morgan finished 9-of-11 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds for Michigan State, which finished with a 32-20 advantage in points in the paint and held a 27-25 edge on the boards.
Coming off a five-point effort in a 62-50 loss at Wisconsin last Saturday, Moore shot 10-of-18 from the field with seven 3-pointers.
Kevin Coble had 17 points and six rebounds for the Wildcats, continuing his strong play since returning to the team after an absence for personal reasons. The 6-8 sophomore is averaging 16.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in his first six games.
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