for this game

Hot shooting helps Michigan State roll

Feb 21, 2008 - 4:03 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- After losing a pair of tough road contests last week, a home game against Penn State was the perfect remedy for Michigan State.

Raymar Morgan scored 16 points and Drew Neitzel added 10 as No. 17 Michigan State cruised past Penn State, 86-49, in a Big Ten rout on Wednesday.

Goran Suton also chipped in 10 points for the Spartans, who shot 58 percent (35-of-60) and improved to 16-0 all-time against the Nittany Lions at home.

"As you can imagine, it was a game we really needed," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I think to not only win a game but to get a lot of players involved, kind of bring our group back together and get a little confidence in our shooting.

"I thought we did a lot of good things and maybe the best was the 30 assists on 35 baskets because that's a lot on unselfish play."

Michigan State (21-5, 9-4 Big Ten) had dropped a pair of road games last week at Purdue and Indiana, respectively, to diminish its chances of winning the regular-season conference title.

But the Spartans established control early, jumping out to an 8-2 lead three minutes into the contest.

Michigan State, which never trailed during the game, later used a 14-5 run - scoring 10 points in the paint - to open up a 26-15 advantage with 5:32 left in the first half.

"I thought they (Michigan State) played very, very well," Penn State coach Eddie DeChellis said. "We were really, really poor tonight. I don't have an answer for that. I thought they shot the ball well and passed the ball well and we looked like we were a step behind everything we did tonight."

The Nittany Lions (12-13, 4-9) got no closer than eight points the rest of the opening half and trailed, 39-27, at the break.

Michigan State wasted no time pulling away to start the second half as the Spartans used a 13-2 run - keyed by nine points from Morgan - to take a 52-29 bulge with 16:04 to play.

"We wanted to come out and stay encouraged and play together as a team," Morgan said. "We did a great job of sharing the ball and executing and also playing defense."

The contest was never in doubt after that as the Spartans continued to pour it on, leading by at least 30 for the game's final 10 minutes.

The win also gave Michigan State a bit of revenge for the 85-76 defeat at Penn State on February 2. The 85 points by the Nittany Lions in that contest was the most the Spartans have allowed this season.

"I wouldn't say a payback game, we were coming off two losses so we wanted more than anything to get our life back and get to playing the way we are capable of - not turn the ball over, rebound and run," Neitzel said. "I think we did all three of those things pretty well tonight."

Penn State was outscored 36-18 in the paint and shot only 35 percent (18-of-52) from the field.

Stanley Pringle scored 12 points and Jamelle Cornley had 10 to pace the Nittany Lions, who have now lost five straight road games overall.

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    PENN ST 27 22 49
    MICHIGAN ST (17) 39 47 86 FINAL

    Feb 20 8:55 PM

    PENN ST 27

    Feb 20 7:54 PM