Nov. 21, 2005
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) - Michigan State's second game in Hawaii was a lot better than its first.
Maurice Ager scored 23 points to lead the 12th-ranked Spartans to an 89-67 victory over Chaminade on Monday in the opening round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
The win came just two days after the then-No. 4 Spartans lost 84-62 at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. It also moved them into Tuesday's semifinals against the winner of the first-round game between No. 8 Gonzaga and No. 23 Maryland.
"I didn't sleep very well," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of the day between games. "We got into the flow better and I feel fortunate to win. It wasn't good enough to pat ourselves on the back."
The Spartans (1-1) weren't bothered by leg cramps against Chaminade (0-1) like they were against Hawaii when four starters were forced from the game, including Shannon Brown being carried from the court on a stretcher.
"It took courage for these kids coming off something like that," Izzo said. "If you could have seen how people were tightening up after Saturday's game. It's scary."
Izzo said none of the four really practiced Sunday.
"We spent the whole day yesterday getting massages and getting treatment," said Paul Davis, who had 16 points and 13 rebounds. "It was as good as it could have been today."
The Silverswords, the Division II host of the tournament, stayed close for most of the first half and were ahead 32-31 with 4:27 left. But two powerful dunks by freshman Marquise Gray seemed to energize the Spartans and started a 9-2 run to close the half that gave Michigan State a 40-34 lead.
"He's a jumping jack. He jumps and gets rebounds and has those game-changing dunks," Brown said of the 6-foot-8 freshman. "He gets himself and the team going with that momentum."
The Spartans, coming off their fourth Final Four appearance in seven years, took command in the second half by using their size, strength and speed advantage.
A 10-0 run gave Michigan State a 64-46 lead with 13:20 to play, and Brown scored six straight points to make it 73-53 with 8:13 left.
Brown finished with 18 points and five steals for Michigan State, while Gray had nine points and eight rebounds.
The Spartans finished 34-for-68 from the field, including 7-for-9 from 3-point range, and forced 23 turnovers. Ager was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
"We had some spurts when we hit the 3s," Izzo said. "This was an important win for us. I would have been happy if we won by two because I just didn't know what to expect."
Chris Reaves had 18 points for Chaminade, which fell to 4-58 in the tournament. The Silverswords' last win was over an undermanned Villanova team in the first round in 2003.
"I was proud of our guys especially in the first 20 minutes and then they went off on their runs," Chaminade coach Matt Mahar said. "We were trying to push them off the blocks but they were too big and too strong. Gray is very good. I wish we had him at Chaminade."
Izzo's first game as a head coach was against Chaminade in the opening round in 1995, a 69-65 victory. This was Mahar's first game as a head coach.
"I've been in his shoes and know what he went through," Izzo said. "They did a good job in the first half."