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No. 12 Michigan State clamps down on Louisiana-Monroe

Nov 15, 2007 - 5:10 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- With its offense starting to unravel, Michigan State turned up the defense.

Freshman Chris Allen scored 17 points to lift the 12th-ranked Spartans to an 83-65 victory over pesky Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday in the East Lansing Regional Final of the CBE Classic.

Drew Neitzel scored 15 points and Raymar Morgan added 13 and 14 rebounds for Michigan State (2-0), which advanced to the tournament semifinals to play Missouri on Monday in Kansas City, Missouri.

"It was kind of a strange game," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I said with our freshmen we're going to have good and bad. We were just very up and down and inconsistent."

The Spartans had to withstand a spirited rally from the Warhawks (1-2), who erased a 12-point halftime deficit to take a one-point lead less than six minutes into the second half behind a hail of 3-pointers.

"They made some hellacious threes but I thought the big turning point in the game where we were up nine up and we had a couple of guys in there that just didn't check anybody," Izzo said. "And they hit three threes in a row and it gave them some confidence and once they got it they really rode with it."

Lance Brasher connected from the arc twice to start and end a 19-6 run that forged a 54-53 lead for Louisiana-Monroe with 14:21 to play. The Warhawks made five 3-pointers during the outburst.

"We let them get a little run and get their confidence up again," Morgan said. "At that point we really just tried to lock down on defense."

The Warhawks took their last lead at 57-56 on Jordan Payne's sixth 3-pointer before Michigan State's defense asserted itself.

The Spartans held Louisiana-Monroe scoreless for over 6 1/2 minutes while going on an 11-0 run of their own to take command. Center Goran Suton scored the final five points of the spurt to give Michigan State a 67-57 lead with 8:03 to go.

"Michigan State really imposed their will on us as the game went on," Warhawks coach Orlando Early said. "They were stronger and when we did get a defensive stop, they were there to get an offensive rebound and put it back in and score on us. You can tell by the rebounding advantage of 50 to 23."

Feeling the pressure from the Spartans' defense, the Warhawks missed their next seven attempts from the arc and never got closer than seven points thereafter.

Payne scored 26 points, including seven 3-pointers, to lead Louisiana-Monroe, which finished 14-of-38 from the arc.

"I thought our team competed hard and played hard," Early said. "We have to do a better job of scoring around the basket and not settling for so many 3 point shots."

Durrell Summers had 11 points for Michigan State, which survived 20 turnovers on the game.