Michigan State’s basketball team hosted the North Florida Ospreys last night. This was the Spartan’s first home game since taking the loss earlier this month to North Carolina in the Big Ten-ACC challenge. Led by star forward Adreian Payne, the Spartans dominated their visiting opponents and finished the game 78-48, improving to a 9-1 record for the season.
The Spartans came out hot, jumping to a 21-4 lead in the first 9:10 of play and going into half with a 31 point lead at 50-19, and a 71 shooting percentage. This was exactly the kind of start head coach Tom Izzo wanted to see out his players, especially after the home to North Carolina, and the closely contested win over Oakland University this past weekend.
"I actually was pleased by the way we started out — we've had so much adversity here," Izzo said. "It's been really hard on our team. Right now, we're scrambling. I guess in general I was pleased by the performance. Disappointed in a few things and still question-marking where we are with this incredible injury situation we're in."
Payne led the team in points with 19, 15 of which came in the first half. He also notched seven total rebounds, shot 7-11 for the day, 1-2 from behind the arch, and went 4-4 at the free-throw line.
Junior forward Branden Dawson followed suit with 12 points and eight boards of his own. He shot 3-4 in the game, and 6-8 in free-throws.
With the large point cushion in the second half, Izzo was able to give some rest to his starters and provide some of the bench players some solid playing time. While North Florida did show tremendous improvement in the second half, outscoring the Spartans 29-28, they never could eliminate that cushioned lead from the start.
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