Spartans Punch Ticket To Big Apple
Neitzel scores 17 points, including Michigan State's first 12 of the game.
Nov. 9, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Drews were the news for Michigan State.
As a regional champ in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic, the Spartans will face the winner of the Austin region in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York on Nov. 16.
"Let's not make it bigger than it is," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "But with what our guys went through in the last 24 hours, we had two of our best halves in a long time. While everyone else here was off, our guys went to school."
The lessons began with a 45-34 escape against slow-it-down Brown in the first round. After being held to one basket Wednesday, Neitzel took control with four 3-pointers in the first 4:02, then watched his teammates join in the fun.
"We were having fun, getting out and running," Neitzel said after being named the regional MVP. "That was a big emphasis tonight. Coach thought our bigs were a little stationary in the first game. He wanted them to move around more. And Drew Naymick was all over the place."
After being ripped by Izzo for a lack of effort, Naymick came off the bench to collect 14 points and seven rebounds, including a flying putback. He also had two assists, no turnovers and blocked a dunk attempt for the Spartans (2-0).
"We were pretty bad against Brown and did a lot of standing around," Naymick said. "Tonight, we got our confidence going early. And it really showed."
Quin Humphrey had 22 points for the Penguins (1-1). Byron Davis added 18 for Youngstown State, which beat Central Michigan 74-50 Wednesday.
"Michigan State is a good basketball team with great size," Penguins coach Jerry Slocum said. "They hadn't shot the ball well in their two exhibitions or their first game. I feared they'd shoot the ball a lot better. We took the brunt of that."
Maurice Joseph came off the bench and hit all five of his shots from the field, including four 3-pointers. He finished with 16 points for the Spartans, who led 40-22 at halftime.
"It's just a matter of focus," Joseph said. "I'm getting a lot of extra shots in. It makes a difference when you leave the gym and know you've made the last 10 in a row."
Travis Walton had 11 points, seven assists and just one turnover. Goran Suton added 10 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Raymar Morgan had 10 points, reaching double-figures in each of his first two college games.
"I don't see why we can't lead the league in rebounding," Suton said. "We have depth in the post. And Raymar is very athletic. The big thing tonight was playing against a team that wasn't boring to guard. We relaxed instead of playing like robots."
Michigan State outshot the Penguins 60.8 percent to 36.5 percent from the field and had edges of 39-18 in rebounds and 24-11 in assists.