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Michigan State And Gonzaga Meet In Early Showdown

Nov. 16, 2009

Michigan State (1-0)
vs. Gonzaga (1-0)

November 17, 2009
8 p.m. EST
East Lansing, Mich.
Breslin Center

Radio: Spartan Sports Network - Will Tieman (Play by Play), Gus Ganakas and Matt Steigenga (Color), Adam Ruff (Host) Flagship - WJIM 1240 AM/WMMQ 94.9 FM
TV: ESPN - Dave O'Brien (Play by Play), Steve Lavin (Color)

Tickets: A limited number of tickets are currently on sale. Buy Tickets

Listen to Spartan Sports Podcasts:
Coach Tom Izzo | Kalin Lucas | Draymond Green

Video Interviews

Michigan State Game Notes
Gonzaga Game Notes

The Opening Tip
Michigan State and Gonzaga square off as one of the featured matchups in ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, in a game between two of the most successful basketball programs of the last decade. This will be the first meeting between the Spartans and Bulldogs since the epic triple-overtime showdown at the 2005 Maui Invitational.

The Starting Five
1. It's All About Boardwork

Last season, Michigan State led the nation in rebounding margin at +9.3. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 10 of the last 12 years. In 2008-09, the Spartans out-rebounded 33 of 38 opponents, posting a 27-6 record when out-boarding the opponent. Michigan State picked up right where it left off last season, out-rebounding Florida Gulf Coast in the opener by a 54-34 margin.

2. MSU In November
Michigan State has an all-time record of 81-24 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 57-3 mark at home. The last team to beat MSU at home in November was a David Robinson-led Navy squad that bested the Spartans, 91-90, in overtime on Nov. 29, 1986. Tom Izzo is 35-0 all-time at home in November.

3. Strong Debut
Center Derrick Nix had one of the top freshman debuts in Michigan State history. Nix's 14 rebounds set an MSU freshman debut record, besting the previous mark of 10 held by Matt Steigenga and Ben Tower. Nix (11 points, 14 rebounds) also became just the second freshman in MSU history to debut with a double-double, joining Steigenga (15 pts., 10 reb.). Nix is the 2009 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball honoree, having led Detroit Pershing to a Michigan Class A State Championship.

4. A Year Makes A Difference
Sophomores Draymond Green and Korie Lucious made significant contributions in MSU's season-opening victory over Florida Gulf Coast. Green posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, a year after averaging 3.3 points and 3.3 rebounds, including just one double-double. Lucious came up just short of a double-double with 11 points and eight assists. Last year, Lucious had just one game with more than four assists and three games in double-figure scoring. It should come as no surprise, however, as both showed flashes of their skills last year and were key cogs in MSU's run to the 2009 Final Four, as Green averaged 8.5 points and 5.3 points in the NCAA Tournament and Lucious averaged 8.5 points in the Final Four, including scoring 11 against UConn.

5. MSU's Three-Guard Attack
Michigan State features one of the best backcourts in the nation. In fact, Lindy's College Basketball Magazine ranked it the best. The foundation of the backcourt is the junior trio of Chris Allen, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers, giving MSU one of the most athletic and offensively potent attacks in the country. In the season opener, the trio combined for 48 points (Lucas-21, Summers-17, Allen-10). Add Korie Lucious' 11 points to the mix off the bench and the four guards outscored Florida Gulf Coast 59-58.

MSU vs. Gonzaga Notes
Coach Few

Mark Few (Oregon, '87) is 265-66 in his 11th season as a collegiate head coach at Gonzaga. He has led the Bulldogs to 10 straight NCAA Tournaments, including four Sweet 16 appearances. Under Few, Gonzaga has won or shared nine straight WCC regular-season titles. Prior to taking over as head coach, Few served as an assistant at Gonzaga for eight years and two as a graduate assistant.

Series History
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Gonzaga, 2-1. Two of the three previous meetings have come on a neutral court. In the only prior meeting in East Lansing, MSU defeated Gonzaga, 70-68, on Nov. 29, 1997, in the championship game of the Coca-Cola Spartan Classic.

The Last Meeting
Gonzaga and Michigan State played one of the greatest games in the history of the Maui Invitational in their last meeting, as the Bulldogs defeated the Spartans, 109-106, in triple overtime, on Nov. 22, 2005. Adam Morrison (43 points) and Maurice Ager (36 points) put on a great offensive show. Ager's 36 points were the most by any Spartan since 1995. Of Ager's 36 points, 27 came in the last 7:09 of regulation and the three overtimes. Seven players from the two teams played more than 40 minutes, including three at more than 50. The two teams combined to shoot 48-of-49 from the foul line in the second half and overtime. In a game that featured 18 ties and 24 lead changes, neither team held a lead larger than three points over the final 8:48 of regulation or any of the overtimes.

Ager sent the game into the first overtime, knocking down a 3-pointer as time expired tying the game at 80. Ager also tied the game at 91 in the final minute of the first overtime. Drew Neitzel tied the game at 97 in the final minute of the second overtime. In the third extra period, Ager knocked down two more 3-pointers before fouling out with 19 seconds left. Morrison scored eight of Gonzaga's 12 points in the stanza. MSU had an opportunity to take a one-point lead with five seconds left, but freshman Goran Suton missed a layup and the Bulldogs grabbed the rebound and sealed the win at the foul line.

In addition to Ager's 36 points, Paul Davis posted a double-double with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Shannon Brown scored 19 and Neitzel added 12. While Morrison led Gonzaga, Derek Raivio (26 pts.) and J.P. Batista (22 pts., 13 reb.) also were big contributors, as the trio scored 91 of the Bulldogs' 109 points.

About Gonzaga
Gonzaga's roster features seven newcomers and three redshirts who had never played a minute of NCAA Division I basketball entering the season ... Gonzaga has hit the 20-win mark for 12 straight seasons, including all 10 under head coach Mark Few ... Senior guard Matt Bouldin is a preseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award ... Bouldin ranks 20th in career scoring at Gonzaga with 1,191 points ... The Bulldogs' roster features four players 6-11 or taller, including one at 7-0 and one at 7-5 ... Last season, Gonzaga ranked third in the nation in scoring margin (+15.9), fourth in field-goal percentage defense (.378) and fifth in field-goal percentage (.488).

Coach Heathcote Connection
While Coach Jud Heathcote is synonymous with Michigan State basketball, standing as the school's all-time winningest coach with 340 victories over a 19-year career, he also has a connection with Gonzaga. Heathcote is a regular attendee at Bulldog home games, as he currently makes his home in Spokane, Wash.

Game 1 Recap - MSU 97-Florida Gulf Coast 58
* Michigan State won its 33rd-straight home opener, improving to 93-18 all-time in home openers.
* Michigan State improved to 89-22 all-time in season openers.
* Six Spartans scored in double figures for the first time since Nov. 9, 2006.
* Draymond Green recorded his second career double-double.
* Derrick Nix set an MSU freshman debut record with 14 rebounds, and became just the second Spartan freshman to post a double-double in his debut (11 pts., 14 reb.).
* MSU trailed 17-16 at the 9:18 mark, but a 3-point play by Durrell Summers on an alley-oop sparked a 28-10 run to close the half.
* Led by Derrick Nix's eight offensive rebounds, the Spartans grabbed 22 offensive rebounds, compared to 24 defensive rebounds by the Eagles. MSU out-rebounded FGCU, 54-34.
* MSU's 39-point margin of victory is its largest in a season opener since defeating Toledo by 45 points (78-33) to open the 1999-2000 season.

MSU Basketball Notes
Countdown To 340

Tom Izzo currently stands as Michigan State's second-winningest coach of all time with 337 wins. With his fourth win of the season, he will tie Jud Heathcote as MSU's all-time winningest coach.

Chasing 1,000
Kalin Lucas has 949 career points in just over two seasons at Michigan State. The Spartan sophomore needs just 51 points to become the 40th player in MSU history to score 1,000 career points. His teammate, Raymar Morgan currently ranks 27th in MSU history with 1,190 points. He needs six points to pass Alan Anderson and Kelvin Torbert (1,195 points each) and 23 points to pass Kirk Manns and Ken Redfield (1,212 points each) and move into 23rd place on MSU's all-time scoring list.

Big Ten Favorites
After winning the 2009 Big Ten regular-season title by four games, Michigan State was selected as the preseason conference favorite for the 2009-10 men's basketball season, as voted upon by a 24-member media panel. Purdue and Ohio State were chosen to finish second and third, respectively. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas was tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year.

Lofty Expectations
The Michigan State men's basketball team is ranked second in the 2009-10 Associated Press Preseason Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Preseason Poll, both of which were released Thursday, Oct. 29. Seven of MSU's opponents are ranked, including Texas (No. 3 AP/No. 3 ESPN), North Carolina (No. 6/4), Purdue (No. 7/7), Michigan (No. 15/15), Ohio State (No. 16/17), Illinois (No. 23/-) and Minnesota (No. 25/18). MSU's No. 2 ranking in the AP Top 25 is its highest preseason ranking in school history, having previously been ranked No. 3 in 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2003-04.

Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 194-24 (.890) at home, including 171-15 (.919) over the last 13 years (1997-98 to present). MSU has defeated 40 consecutive non-conference opponents at the Breslin Center.

Unanimous Vote
Senior forward Raymar Morgan and junior guard Kalin Lucas were unanimous selections for team co-captains as voted on by their Spartan teammates.

Experience At Many Positions
Michigan State returns seven of its top nine scorers from last year's Final Four squad, and five players that averaged 17.9 minutes or more per game last season. Eight current Spartans enter the season having started at least one game for Michigan State.

Not So Much At One
The position of concern for the Spartans will be at center. Michigan State must replace Goran Suton, Idong Ibok and Marquise Gray, three five-year players that appeared in 380 games (starting 162), playing a combined 5,808 minutes over the course of their careers. Their void must be filled by the trio of red-shirt junior Tom Herzog, and true freshmen Derrick Nix and Garrick Sherman. Herzog enters the season with 29 games of experience (starting 1), for a combined 100 minutes of action. The trio of Gray, Ibok and Suton combined for 13.9 points and 12.1 rebounds per contest.

Another Strong Non-Conference Schedule
Michigan State will be tested early and often during its 2009-10 non-conference schedule. The Spartans will take road trips to play at No. 6 North Carolina and No. 3 Texas. The last time MSU played two ranked non-conference teams on the road was 2003-04 (No. 6 Kansas, No. 17 Syracuse). The last time MSU played two top-five non-conference teams on the road was 1999-2000 (No. 2 North Carolina, No. 2 Arizona). In addition, MSU will host Gonzaga and will play Florida on a neutral court in the Legends Classic in Atlantic City.

Big Ten Even Stronger
While MSU's non-conference slate is rough, the Big Ten schedule is even tougher, as the conference will feature its strongest lineup in the last decade or so. Six different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue) are ranked in The Associated Press Top 25. The last time that MSU played five different ranked schools during league play came during the 1999 season when the Spartans played six different ranked league opponents. In addition, all five members of the 2009 All-Big Ten First Team are back.

Individual Accolades
Junior Kalin Lucas and senior Raymar Morgan have been named preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award. In addition, Lucas earned a spot on Dick Vitale's Preseason All-Rolls Royce Team and was named the nation's best point guard by Lindy's College Basketball. He was also named preseason first-team All-Big Ten by Lindy's and Athlon Sports College Basketball. Morgan was named a fourth-team preseason All-American by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He also earned all-league accolades from Lindy's and Athlon. Delvon Roe earned all-league honors from Athlon, while Durrell Summers was recognized by Lindy's.

Honors For Spartan Backcourt
Lindy's College Basketball selected Michigan State as having the nation's best backcourt. Villanova, California, Kansas, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Mississippi and Purdue round out the top 10.

Spartans In The NBA
Five former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Charlie Bell (Milwaukee Bucks), Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Morris Peterson (New Orleans Hornets), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) and Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns).

Exhibition Recap
Despite playing shorthanded due to injury, Michigan State cruised to two exhibition victories, with an average margin of victory of 27.0 points. The story of the two games, however, were the injuries as Raymar Morgan (ankle) and Chris Allen (groin) sat out both contests. Delvon Roe played just seven minutes in the first game before suffering a concussion, forcing him to miss the second contest. In the second game, Durrell Summers took an elbow above his right eye and played just 19 minutes. Among those that played, Kalin Lucas and Draymond Green were the most impressive Spartans. Lucas averaged 17.0 points and 3.5 assists. Green averaged a double-double with 14.5 points and 11.0 boards. Summers (11.0 ppg) and freshman center Derrick Nix (10.5 ppg) also averaged double figures in the two games.

The Book On Tom Izzo
Coach Izzo

In his 14th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 337-137 (.711), and 160-72 (.690) in the Big Ten, as the coach of the Michigan State basketball program. In 2005, he passed Benjamin Van Alstyne to become the second-winningest coach in MSU history, trailing only Jud Heathcote (340) in total wins. In his 14 seasons as a head coach, Izzo has won National Coach of the Year honors four times, including the Clair Bee Award in 2005 and NABC honors in 2001. In 1999, Izzo was named National Coach of the year by Basketball Times, while earning similar honors from The Associated Press, Basketball News and the USBWA in '98. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and 2009.

Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .690 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks second all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700) and just ahead of Purdue's Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Izzo (.711) and Lambert (.709). With 160 conference victories, Izzo ranks eighth all-time.

Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 14 seasons, Tom Izzo won 336 games, ranking seventh in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 14 years.

Izzo's Coaching Tree
Five current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Jim Boylen (Utah), Tom Crean (Indiana), Brian Gregory (Dayton), Stan Heath (South Florida) and Doug Wojcik (Tulsa). Gregory is in his seventh year as head coach, after leaving MSU in the spring of 2003. Crean directed Marquette to the 2003 Final Four, while Heath directed Kent State to the Elite Eight in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Wojcik is in his fifth season at Tulsa. Mike Garland served as head coach at Cleveland State for three seasons after leaving Izzo's staff in 2003. He is now back as an assistant coach at MSU. Most recently, Jim Boylen left MSU following the 2007 season, and is in his third season with Utah. Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo.



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