for this game

Michigan State hands Minnesota first loss

Dec 31, 2008 - 8:29 PM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Kalin Lucas poured in 24 points and Chris Allen added 13 as No. 15 Michigan State topped Minnesota, 70-58, on Wednesday in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams.

It was the first loss of the season for the 21st-ranked Golden Gophers (12-1), who were the only remaining unbeaten team in the Big Ten.

"Today is one of those days we hoped to be in a better mood to move into the new year and hopefully we would finish out 2008 the right way," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. "We didn't, so now it's time to regroup.

"We played against a team today that I thought that was more physical and tougher than we were. That's one of the areas we need to improve on is toughness."

A lack of toughness on the glass played a key role in the outcome as Michigan State outrebounded the Gophers 49-27, including 23 on the offensive end.

"Obviously, there were more physical than we were," Minnesota freshman center Colton Iverson said. "We need to work on that. They outrebounded us, they stunned us."

Michigan State's Goran Suton continued to play well since returning from injury, registering 11 points and pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds.

The senior center, who missed six games with a knee injury, has averaged 15 points in three contests since rejoining the team.

Raymar Morgan added 10 points and 11 boards for the Spartans, who have won nine of the last 10 meetings with Minnesota.

Michigan (10-2) held a narrow 30-29 after 20 minutes, but opened the half on an 18-9 run and never allowed Minnesota to get closer than seven points the rest of the way.

"We told our kids to match Minnesota's intensity and we played very hard," Spartans coach Tim Izzo said. "In the first half, Chris (Allen) was hitting some big shots, which were huge with the way Minnesota's defense was playing.

"In the second half Lucas came up big for us. He had a great half and stepped up making shots for us."

Talented Michigan State freshman Delvon Roe was held to two points in limited action as he continues to recover from a ankle injury.

The Gophers were led by Al Nolen's 14 points and Lawrence Westbrook finished with 10. Outside shooting threat Blake Hoffarber was limited to eight points and was just 2-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.