Dec. 30, 2006
East Lansing, Mich. - Marquise Gray scored 16 points in the first half and Goran Suton poured in 18 in the second half to lead No. 25 Michigan State to a 74-61 non-conference home victory over the Greyhounds Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. The win improved the Spartans' home record to 11-0 and 13-2 overall while Loyola fell to 5-6, dropping both of its games during the Big 10 swing after losing a 66-60 decision at Northwestern on Wednesday.
"I want to thank Tom Izzo for having us come out here and play," Loyola third-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said after the game. "We are honored to come play in a place where a National Championship banner is hanging. This stop was the real part of the trip so I can get our team to learn about college basketball. I thought our kids played real well and the fact that we can stay even in rebounding with a Michigan State team is a victory for me as a head coach because nobody has rebounded the basketball as well as they have over the years."
The first half included nine ties and neither team could break free for more than the four-point advantage the Spartans last held at 29-25 with 3:27 remaining. A pair of three-pointers from senior forward Josko Alujevic and a three-pointer from junior guard Gerald Brown and the Greyhounds owned a 34-31 lead with 1:42 remaining in the half. Michigan State scored the final five points before intermission and led, 36-34. Brown led Loyola with 16 points and Alujevic added nine.
Ninety seconds into the second half, the Loyola deficit remained at just two at 38-36 before the Spartans ran off six straight, the final four from Suton, on the way to a 23-8 run to give Michigan State its biggest lead at 61-44 with 10:24 remaining in the game.
A 14-5 Loyola run cut the deficit to eight at 66-58 with 3:30 remaining as sophomore guard Marquis Sullivan shook free for a pair of three-pointers. A pair of free throws from DeMarcus Ducre pushed the margin back to 10 and Drew Neitzel hit a three-pointer with under a minute remaining to put the game away.
"I really like the way Jimmy's team played," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo stated. "Their guards came firing out right from the start and if they play that well the rest of the way, they will be real successful in their league. They do a lot of the stuff that Maryland does with the pressure defense and for us to only have 12 turnovers against a pressing team like that is not bad."
Brown finished the game with 25 points, making 13 of 17 from the free-throw line. Sullivan added 11 as the only other Loyola player in double figures. Alujevic scored his nine points on three first-half three-pointers and junior forward Omari Isreal scored eight with eight rebounds.
For Michigan State, Gray collected 11 rebounds to go along with 19 points for a double-double. Neitzel also posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists.
"We will need to win our league to play in the [NCAA] Tournament and have another chance at a team like that and this game will prepare us to do that," Patsos said.
The four-game road stretch over, the Greyhounds play a home game for the first time since December 8 as conference play reconvenes Tuesday with Loyola hosting Marist at Reitz Arena. Game time is 7 o'clock.