February 4, 2009

Video: 'It was our night'

EAST LANSING - Michigan State bounced back from back-to-back losses to unranked opponents at the Breslin Center by dismantling No. 19 Minnesota, 76-47.

The Spartans jumped out to a 13-1 lead thanks to the hot hand of Durrell Summers, who started in place of Raymar Morgan who has played sparingly in the last four games since coming down with pneumonia. Morgan did not play against the Golden Gophers.

Michigan State also played their best defense to date in the first half. The Spartans limited Minnesota to 16 points in the opening half.

"Hat's off to Michigan State," said Minnesota coach Tubby Smith."They certainly proved why they are one of the best teams, if not the best team in this league so far. They were focused and ready to play and we never seemed to get on track. I felt like we were intimidated from the start."

The Breslin Center might have intimidated the Golden Gophers, but it did not seem to intimidate the Spartans' two previous opponents, Northwestern and Penn State. But Michigan State didn't play the kind of defense against the Wildcats and Nittany Lions that they did against Minnesota.

"It's a little differen than the last time I was here," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. "I told Tubby after the game, I thought that was the best half of basketball the we played this year. We came out defensively and I think Travis Walton set the tempo. [db]Kalin Lucas played very good defense and got the running game going and we did that early on. Even though Kalin didn't shoot the ball very well, I thought he got the ball to some guys, especially Durrell."

Summers led the Spartans in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field including 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Summers came out hot in the second half, scoring the first four of Michigan State's points after intermission.

Chris Allen was the only other Spartan in double figures. Allen scored 13 points in the win.

Michigan State's fast second-half start in enabled the Spartans to play as close to a complete game as they have this season.

"One of the things that I've talked about in the first three time-outs was if we going to be mature enough as a team to learn from our mistakes of the past. I didn't want to bring them up, but I think that is part of the growing process especially with our young guys. Are we going to learn from what we did against Northwestern and Penn State where we had so many leads and didn't take care of them."

Michigan State has now held two opponents under 20 points in the first half this season. The Spartans held Kansas to 18 points in their non-conference meeting at the Breslin Center. In that game, Michigan State allowed the Jayhawks to creep back into the contest in the second half. This time around, Michigan State shut the door in the second half.

Summers has had three games with 20 points or more this season. Izzo was pleased with Summers ability to score against Minnesota. But the Spartan coach appeared to be even more pleased with the second-year wing's ability to play defense on the perimeter. Summers had his best game on defense as a Spartan.

Michigan State has won the last five games they've played against Minnesota. During his career, Izzo is now 18-7 against the Golden Gophers. The Spartan head coach is 8-2 all time against his close friend Tubby Smith.

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