December 23, 1998
LAIE, Hawaii - Reserve forward A.J. Granger scored 10 of his career-high 16 points during a 20-4 second-half run that enabled No. 15 Michigan State to pull away to a 75-58 victory over Alabama on Wednesday night in the championship game of the Pearl Harbor Classic.
The Spartans (9-3) were locked in a tight battle when Granger, whose previous scoring high was 10, knocked down a 3-pointer to start the rally. By the end of the run, Michigan State had a comfortable 57-47 lead.
The Crimson Tide (10-3) could not get any closer than seven points thereafter.
Until the rally, Michigan State struggled against the pesky Crimson Tide zone defense.
Alabama got early inside-outside scoring from MC Mazique and Brian Williams as it built an 8-point lead midway through the first half.
But Morris Peterson, voted the tournament's MVP, countered with five points to give Michigan State a 37-36 halftime lead.
A 7-0 start at the outset of the second half, with Williams scoring three points, gave Alabama back the lead, but Granger followed with his 3-pointer that touched off the Spartans' winning drive.
Andre Hutson and Mateen Cleaves each scored six points over the final 5:30 to cap an 18-7 spurt that sealed the victory.
Cleaves finished with 17 points to go with seven assists and Peterson added 12 points.
For the Crimson Tide, Mazique, who was 9-of-12 from the field, had 19 points and Williams added 16.
By GORDON SAKAMOTO
Associated Press Writer