Nov. 14, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo got everything he expected from his freshmen -- and then some.
Freshman Chris Allen scored 17 points and All-American Drew Neitzel had 15 to help No. 12 Michigan State withstand a 3-point barrage and beat Louisiana-Monroe 83-65 on Wednesday night in a CBE Classic regional final.
"It was kind of a strange game," Izzo said. "I said the freshmen would have some good and some bad. But this game they had some bad, some good, some bad, some good, some bad and some good. And our turnovers almost bordered on the ridiculous."
The Spartans (2-0) blew a 47-35 halftime lead and trailed 57-56 with 13:46 left, after allowing three straight 3s. But with several second and third opportunities, Michigan State scored the next 11 points and held the Warhawks scoreless for 6:42.
"Coach just told me to be confident," Allen said. "But when we were down a point, waiting to check in, we said we had play defense and really pick it up at that end."
All-American Drew Neitzel took just five shots, but had 15 points and five assists for the Spartans, who failed to screen effectively all night.
"Last year there was a lot of pressure for me to score," Neitzel said. "Now, we have such balance. And I'm all for it. I'm sure we'll have games this season when I'm the No. 1 option."
Raymar Morgan, who had 25 points and 15 rebounds Tuesday against Chicago State, earned tournament MVP honors with another 13 points and 14 boards, despite feeling ill.
"Maybe I need to stay sick, I don't know," Morgan said. "But when we were down, the big thing was to keep pounding the boards. That gave us some easy buckets and made everything else happen."
Jordan Payne had 27 points for the Warhawks (1-2), who hit 14 3-pointers. Payne was 7-for-16 from behind the arc.
"Michigan State really imposed its will on us," Warhawks coach Orlando Early said. "They were bigger and stronger. But I didn't think the rebounding would be 50-23. They didn't miss a lot, either."