Michigan State puts a stop to home woes, trounces MinnesotaFeb 5, 2009 - 5:39 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Michigan State wasn't about to lose its third straight contest in East Lansing. It took the 14th-ranked Spartans about six minutes to make that point emphatically clear on Wednesday night.
The Spartans maintained their hold on the top spot in the Big Ten, storming ahead early en route to a 76-47 rout over No. 19 Minnesota.
Michigan State had dropped consecutive games on its home floor but had stayed atop the conference thanks to a perfect road record in league play.
Durrell Summers had his third standout performance in his last three games, leading all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting to pace a Michigan State attack that connected at a 52-percent rate (26-of-50).
"I thought (Kalin Lucas) got the ball to some guys, especially Durrell. Our inside guys did a very good job early," MSU coach Tom Izzo said. "Our defense caused our offense and our offense was our running game and I thought that was the difference. It felt great to play 40 minutes of basketball instead of 20 or 15 and that was the battle cry in the huddles. We beat a very good team that didn't play as well tonight."
The sophomore guard, who is averaging 19.3 points over his last four games, set the tone with a 3-pointer just seven seconds into Wednesday's game and connected from the arc again three minutes later to open up a 6-0 lead for the Spartans.
Michigan State (18-4, 8-2 Big Ten) pushed that lead to 13-1 and was rarely threatened from then on. After Blake Hoffarber's jumper cut the Golden Gophers' deficit to just 15-9, the Spartans answered with a 15-0 run to essentially put the game on ice. Summers scored six points in the spurt.
"I thought that was the best half of basketball that we played this year," Izzo said. "We came out defensively and I think Travis Walton set the tempo. Kalin (Lucas) played very good defense and got the running game going and we did that early on."
The 29-point loss was Minnesota's most lopsided since falling by 36 to Indiana on February 28, 2001.
Minnesota (18-4, 6-4) fell for the third time in its last five contests as its offense practically disappeared. The Gophers shot just 29 percent (15-of-52) and got outrebounded, 39-21. Over a stretch of 17 minutes and nine seconds bridging the two halves, they hit just two shots from the floor as Michigan State opened up a 54-19 lead.
"They were focused and ready to play and we never seemed to get on track," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. "I felt like we were intimidated from the start. We were missing shots inside and I thought a lack of physicality and a lack of aggressiveness cost us early on in the game, and throughout the game."
Freshman Devoe Joseph was the team's only player to reach double figures in scoring, finishing with 11 points to tie his career high.
Minnesota's leading scorer, junior guard Lawrence Westbrook, finished with just six points - less than half his season average - on 2-of-7 shooting. As a team, the Golden Gophers managed just six assists on the night.
"That is not the way they usually play and they have played well lately," Izzo said. "It was our night tonight and that is the way it is in our league. It is still a very good Minnesota team and we did a pretty good job on their key guys like (Al) Nolen, Westbrook and (Damian) Johnson. I thought that was the big difference in the game."
Chris Allen scored 13 points for the Spartans, while Kalin Lucas added 10 on 4-of-14 shooting.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
MINNESOTA (19) 16 31 47
MICHIGAN ST (14) 42 34 76 FINAL
Feb 4 10:33 PM
- NCAA BB
(19) MINNESOTA 16
(14) MICHIGAN ST 42 HALFTIME
Feb 4 9:24 PM
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