Spartans Whip UWGB To Finish A Perfect December

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Tom Izzo loved Michigan State's pass-first offense. The Spartans' defense was another story.
Raymar Morgan scored 24 points to lead Michigan State to a 93-75 win over Green Bay on Saturday, when the Spartans finished with 31 assists but didn't impress their coach at the other end of the court.
"Instead of me talking today, just read the stats," Izzo said. "That says it all. I was incredibly impressed with our unselfishness. And we have so much work to do defensively to live up to any kind of billing we've received, it's a joke."
Morgan added eight rebounds in his team's highest-scoring game in the last two seasons.
Freshman Kalin Lucas had 17 points off the bench and All-American Drew Neitzel added 16 for the No. 7 Spartans (12-1), who tied the school's 2000-01 Final Four team for the fastest start in Izzo's 13 years as coach.
The most important player for Michigan State could have been guard Travis Walton, who had 11 assists, no turnovers and three steals. The Spartans won their ninth straight game and wound up perfect in December for the third straight year.
"That's nice, but we didn't play defense," Walton said after being singled out as the only Michigan State player who did. "We can't go into conference play and think we'll score 90 and give up 70. That's unacceptable."
Goran Suton and Durrell Summers each had 10 points for the Spartans, who shot 55.2 percent from the field and had better than a 3-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Mike Schachtner scored 20 points and Ryan Tillema 17 for the Phoenix (7-5), who trailed 53-36 at halftime and were down by 24 late in the game.
"The disappointing part for our team was our transition defense," Green Bay coach Tod Kowalczyk said. "You can coach it, preach it, teach it, drill it and emphasize it, but you have to see their athleticism up close."
Morgan was 9-for-16 from the field, grabbed eight rebounds and joined Marquise Gray in a dunking display that delighted a sellout crowd.
Lucas, who had his coming-out party with 18 points last Saturday against then-No. 4 Texas, was spectacular again, going 4-for-5 on 3-pointers with nine assists and no turnovers.
"I'm just trying to take what the defense gives me," Lucas said. "My teammates are starting to look for me. And we're all just finding each other."
Walton and Lucas teamed for 20 assists and no turnovers, a stat no Michigan State coach or official could remember seeing.
Neitzel was 4-for-10 beyond the arc as Michigan State finished 9-for-19 from long range. Green Bay was just as good from the perimeter, shooting 8-for-16.
The Phoenix did a respectable job on the boards and were outrebounded just 35-30. But a team that has lost at Ohio State, Massachusetts and Wisconsin couldn't stop the Spartans from scoring.
Michigan State will open Big Ten play next Saturday night against visiting Minnesota and will be home for three of its first four conference games.


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