for this game

Michigan State routs Indiana behind near-perfect first half

Mar 3, 2008 - 1:27 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Michigan State's season-long scoring troubles went away with a very impressive half.

Raymar Morgan scored 12 of his 20 points in the first half as No. 15 Michigan State rolled to a 103-74 rout of 12th-ranked Indiana in the Big Ten Conference on Sunday.

Drew Neitzel also netted 12 points in opening half as the Spartans missed only six of 27 shots from the floor en route to scoring 59 before halftime - more points than they had in four previous league games.

In all, Michigan State (23-6, 11-5) shot 61 percent (37-of-61) with 13 3-pointers as it posted its highest point total of the season.

The last time that the Spartans topped triple digits in points was in a 109-106 loss to Gonzaga at the Maui Invitational on November 22, 2005.

The performance was an unexpected one, as the Spartans were coming off a loss at Wisconsin on Thursday in which they mustered 42 total points. Michigan State also had only 36 points in a seven-point loss at Iowa on January 12.

Yet, the Spartans were in much higher spirits on Sunday, as seniors Neitzel and Drew Naymick were honored in their final game at the Breslin Center.

"It doesn't really get any more storybook than that," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "Naymick getting a block in his last second on the court; he's our block leader. Then Neitzel got a lay-in in his last second on the court to get 100 points. I want them to take something with them that they'll remember and I think both guys will remember that."

"I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity to play for a university like this, a program as elite as this one," Neitzel said. "I have so many memories and have learned so much throughout my career, the way it ended, I wouldn't change anything."

The good feelings carried over into the contest, as Morgan hit two 3-pointers in the opening two minutes and Neitzel added a shot from the arc for a 12-4 lead with just under three minutes expired.

Morgan had two layups and Naymick added a dunk to extended the lead to 25-10 with 13:18 remaining.

"Right from the start, I thought Michigan State was faster and obviously they shot the ball great," Indiana interim coach Dan Dakich said. "They played a great game."

Neitzel hit another 3-pointer for a 30-16 advantage, and Michigan State would go on to connect on nine of its first 10 attempts from the arc for a 59-27 cushion with 1:56 left before intermission.

"We've some ups and downs the last few weeks and we knew it was going to be a tough game, with a great team coming in here and we wanted to get a big win and start getting some momentum," Neitzel said. "I don't think anybody thought we were going to blow them out by 30 points, but the guys kept playing for 40 minutes."

"They were fired up," Indiana forward D.J. White said. "They came out and jumped on us and we didn't retaliate. They just kept coming and we never fought back."

As expected, the Spartans cooled off in the second half, enabling the Hoosiers to close within 75-58 midway through the half on the strength of a 13-2 run. Freshman star Eric Gordon scored four points in the burst.

Morgan came back with four points on a 10-2 run that gave Michigan State an 85-60 advantage with 6:51 to play.

Neitzel finished with 17 points along with Goran Suton and freshman Kalin Lucas added 14 for the Spartans, who have two games remaining at Illinois and Ohio State before the Big Ten tournament starts on March 13.

"This was huge. It was a step in the right direction," Neitzel said. "This is the right time of the year where we want to turn it on and play our best ball and have everybody play to their potential.

"We are going to use this in our next couple of games and try to build some momentum. We're out of the Big Ten regular-season (title) but, if we can get these next two games and have a lot of momentum going into the Big Ten tournament, we could be dangerous."

Gordon scored 22 points and White chipped in 14 for Indiana (24-5, 13-3), which had a four-game winning streak snapped with its most lopsided loss of the season.

Dropping just their second decision in eight conference road games, the Hoosiers dropped a game behind Wisconsin and Purdue in the race for the Big Ten title.

"It was in our hands and now it's not in our hands but things happen so all we can do is win out the next two and see what happens," White said.