Rusty Spartans edge Grizzlies

NOAH TRISTER AP Sports Writer Published:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had no idea how Branden Dawson would play after he challenged the enigmatic forward following a disappointing effort against North Carolina.

Izzo got the answer he was looking for on Saturday.

Dawson had 16 points and 13 rebounds, helping the No. 5 Spartans hold off Oakland for a 67-63 victory at The Palace.

"I thought Dawson really responded today," Izzo said. "I got after him pretty good."

Dawson took only two shots and had two turnovers in 17 minutes during Michigan State's 79-65 home loss to the Tar Heels on Dec. 4. It was a much different story against the Golden Grizzlies, with Dawson going 7 for 13 from the field and blocking three shots in 36 minutes.

"There was a different mindset and definitely a different approach," Dawson said. "I'd just had one of the worst games since I've been here against North Carolina. So the guys all pushed me, and Coach talked to me."

Keith Appling scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half for the short-handed Spartans (8-1), who were rusty and turnover-prone after a 10-day break. Adreian Payne had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

"We just have to come out more ready to play," Appling said. "It's as simple as that. I knew in the second half I had to be more aggressive, not only looking for my shot but getting to the paint, making the defense collapse and finding my teammates on kickouts."

Michigan State played without leading scorer Gary Harris, who is nursing an ankle injury. The Spartans also were without big men Matt Costello (mononucleosis) and Kenny Kaminski (academic suspension).

Duke Mondy, the nation's leader in steals, had 24 points and seven swipes for the Golden Grizzlies (2-9). Travis Bader, who grew up in the shadows of Michigan State, had 18 points and Corey Petros added 11 for Oakland, winless in 12 games in the series.

"I had seven steals?" Mondy said. "I didn't even know that. I have great anticipation. I'm not a gambler, but I like to gamble sometimes."

The Spartans got all but 10 of their points from Appling, Payne and Dawson, and only had five players score. But a 41-32 rebounding edge gave them just enough to bounce back from the loss to North Carolina that knocked them out of the No. 1 spot in the poll.

"It has been a miserable 10 days," Izzo said. "You lose and you want to go to war, but you can't go to war without bodies. We hope to get Gary back this week. Costello, I have no idea about that. But we're missing Gary. He's the best two-way player we've got."

The Golden Grizzlies jumped to a 20-12 lead, taking advantage of the Spartans' sloppiness. Oakland had four assists on its first five baskets, while Michigan State was recording one assist and committing seven turnovers.

"The start they had kept them in the game," Izzo said. "If we'd gotten them down early, maybe some of those losses they've had would've mounted."

Michigan State managed to rally for a 35-31 lead early in the second half on two jumpers by Appling. But Oakland wouldn't go away.

Bader's third 3 tied it at 50 with 7:44 to play. He was 4 for 14 from long range.

An Appling 3 and a Bader turnover helped Michigan State take a five-point advantage, its largest of the day to that point. Another Bader turnover and a layup and free throw by Appling built the cushion to 58-50 and seemed to create some daylight.

"They were just so physical," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "A couple of our bigger backups are out for the season, and we just don't have the size to match them. We weren't physical enough, and Dawson had his way down in there."

NO. 4 WISCONSIN 86, E. KENTUCKY 61

MADISON, Wis. -- Ben Brust scored 20 points to lead four Wisconsin players in double figures and the fourth-ranked Badgers beat Eastern Kentucky, 86-61.

Freshman reserve Nigel Hayes scored a career-high 17 points for the Badgers (12-0), who are off to the best start to a season since 1915-16 when they started 12-0 and finished 20-1. Sam Dekker added 16 points, while Frank Kaminsky shrugged off a right foot injury that hampered him this week to add 13.

Glenn Cosey scored 21 points to lead the Colonels (7-4), while Orlando Williams added 13.

Wisconsin, which averages 21 free throws a game, went 25 of 33 from the free throw line as the undersized Colonels committed 26 fouls. The Badgers finished 9 of 15 from beyond the 3-point line.

No. 6 LOUISVILLE 79, W. KENTUCKY 63

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Russ Smith had 14 points and 10 assists and No. 6 Louisville used a strong start to the second half to pull away to a 79-63 victory over Western Kentucky.

With starting point guard Chris Jones sidelined at least a game with a sprained right wrist, the Cardinals (9-1) got numerous backcourt contributions to beat their in-state rival for the fifth straight time. Freshman Terry Rozier grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds starting in Jones' place while reserve Tim Henderson added career highs of 12 points on four 3-pointers and four assists.

Their efforts helped Louisville pad a 31-28 halftime lead as the Cardinals made 13 of their first 21 attempts from the field after the break to build a 63-44 lead with 6:02 left. They held the Hilltoppers (5-4) scoreless for nearly 6 minutes.

No. 7 OKLA. ST. 70, LOUISIANA TECH 55

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Le'Bryan Nash had 22 points and 10 rebounds and No. 7 Oklahoma State overcame a sluggish start to pull away to a 70-55 victory over Louisiana Tech.

All-America guard Marcus Smart scored three points in the first half and finished with 13 for the Cowboys (9-1), who had not played a game in more than a week.

Smart added five rebounds and five assists, but the Big 12 Conference's leading scorer watched as Nash did the bulk of the scoring against Louisiana Tech (8-3).

NO. 18 N. CAROLINA 82, NO. 11 KENTUCKY 77

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Marcus Paige scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half and James Michael McAdoo had 20 points, helping No. 18 North Carolina beat No. 11 Kentucky, 82-77.

J.P. Tokoto added 15 points for the Tar Heels (7-2), who grinded out yet another marquee nonconference victory in a first month of the season filled with wild swings. UNC shot 57 percent after halftime and scored 20 points off turnovers to finally wrestle control of a foul-filled game away from the Wildcats (8-3).

It wasn't always pretty for the Tar Heels, from 19 missed free throws to seeing the Wildcats swat away seven of their shots. Yet they managed to add another big name to their early wins against then-No. 1 Michigan State and then-No. 3 Louisville -- all coming while top scorer P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald sit out due to NCAA eligibility concerns.

NO. 12 WICHITA ST. 70, TENNESSEE 61

WICHITA, Kan. -- Tekele Cotton scored all 19 of his points in the second half and No. 12 Wichita State beat Tennessee 70-61 as the Shockers got off to the best start in school history.

Darius Carter had 11 points and 14 rebounds and Cleanthony Early added 13 points for the Shockers (10-0).

Jordan McRae scored 26 points for Tennessee (6-3), which shot 16 of 47 (34 percent) over the final 35 minutes.

Trailing at halftime for the fifth time this season, Wichita State methodically worked its way to a 39-34 lead -- the largest of the game for either team to that point -- on Cotton's tip-in with 15:06 remaining.

But Wichita State would not make another field goal for 5:57.

NO. 22 UMASS 80, N. ILLINOIS 54

AMHERST, Mass. -- Cady Lalanne scored 16 points to lead No. 22 Massachusetts to an 80-54 victory over Northern Illinois.

Chaz Williams, coming off career highs of 32 points and 15 assists against Brigham Young on Dec. 7, had 12 points and six assists for the Minutemen (9-0), who are off to the program's best start since the 1995-96 team started 26-0.

Raphiael Putney added 13 points -- including three 3-pointers in an early 11-0 run -- and Maxie Esho had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Minutemen.

Darrell Bowie led the Huskies (3-5) with 10 points.

BIG TEN

PRINCETON 81, PENN ST. 79, OT

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Will Barrett scored 15 of his team-high 24 points in the final 6:34 of regulation and overtime to lead Princeton to an improbable 81-79 overtime comeback win over Penn State.

The game was coined as "Return to Rec" because the Nittany Lions (8-4) returned to their venerable old arena, Rec Hall, instead of the newer Bryce Jordan Center, which they moved to in 1996.

The Tigers (8-1) placed four other players in double figures. Hans Brase contributed 14, Spencer Weisz added 13 and T.J. Bray and Ben Hazel scored 11 each.

For Penn State, guards Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill carried the scoring load with 24 points each. Ross Travis added 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

NOTRE DAME 79, INDIANA 72

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jerian Grant had 23 points and nine assists Saturday, and Pat Connaughton scored all 14 of his points in the second half to lead Notre Dame past Indiana 79-72 in the Crossroads Classic.

The Fighting Irish (8-3) won for just the third time in five games, but never trailed the Hoosiers.

Despite having most of the crowd clad in Indiana red, the Hoosiers (8-3) lost for the second straight year in Indianapolis. Will Sheehey tied his career high with 22 points, while Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell finished with 13.

Notre Dame took a 13-point lead in the first half, forcing the Hoosiers to play catch-up the rest of the afternoon. They never quite did.

Indiana tied the score twice early in the second half, and were within one or two points for most of the final 10 minutes. But the Irish pulled away in the final minute to seal it.

NEBRASKA 79, ARKANSAS ST. 67

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Shavon Shields scored 15 points to lead four Nebraska players in double figures, and the Cornhuskers rode a fast start to a 79-67 victory over Arkansas State.

Ray Gallegos added 13 points, Walter Pitchford had 12 and Terran Petteway 11 for the Huskers (7-3), who bounced back from a 15-point loss to in-state rival Creighton last Sunday.

Kirk Van Slyke scored a career-high 27 points for Arkansas State (5-3), which was off to its best start in five years and had its three-game win streak end. Melvin Johnson III had 18 points for the Red Hawks, who couldn't overcome 21 turnovers and 38-percent first-half shooting.

The Huskers led by 28 points in the second half, and fans started leaving Pinnacle Bank Arena with just under 12 minutes to play and the Huskers up by 22.

MAC

TOLEDO 77, SAM HOUSTON 61

TOLEDO -- J.D. Weatherspoon scored 14 of his career-high 16 points in the second half as Toledo out-lasted Sam Houston State for a 77-61 win Saturday.

SHSU's Will Bond hit a 3-pointer with 12:28 to play to tie the game at 43, but Toledo (9-0) responded with an 18-6 run which was sparked by a trey from Rian Pearson. Justin Drummond scored seven points in the spurt, including a 3-point basket that gave Toledo its first double-digit lead, 53-43, with 8:22 remaining.

The Bearkats (7-4) led most of the first half and went into the break with a 30-28 advantage.

Terrance Motley led SHSU, which shot just 35.6 percent from the field and 17.6 percent from deep, with 14 points.

OHIO 72, ALABAMA A&M 47

ATHENS -- Maurice Ndour scored 12 points and blocked four shots to pace Ohio over Alabama A&M 72-47 on Saturday.

Ndour was joined in double figures for Ohio (7-2) by T.J. Hall and Javarez Willis with 12 points apiece.

Alabama A&M (3-5) was led by Demarquelle Tabb and Jeremy Crutcher, both with 11 points. A&M shot just 27.8 percent from the floor.

Ohio held a 16-14 lead at 8:32 of the first half when the Bobcats went on a 14-0 run, highlighted by a pair of dunks on consecutive possessions by Jon Smith and Hall -- the second of which came as a result of an Ndour block. Ohio held a 15-point lead, 37-22, at the intermission.

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