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Coaching Young Stars

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo says Raymar Morgan reminds him of a former Spartans star.

Morgan will be trying to lead No. 6 Michigan State to its 11th straight win on Tuesday when the Spartans host Purdue.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Michigan State –14 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on Purdue +14 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Morgan, a sophomore, leads the Spartans (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten) with 18.4 points per game and has scored in double figures in 18 straight games dating to last season - the longest current streak in the Big Ten. He had a career-high 31 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's 65-59 win over Minnesota in Michigan State's conference opener, prompting Izzo to compare him to current NBA player Morris Peterson, the 2000 Big Ten MVP.

"I told some people that Raymar had a chance to be one of the best forwards ever to play here," Izzo said. "I know I've been tough on Raymar. We expect an awful lot from him. He reminds me of Morris. We expect him to play a lot of positions, we expect him to guard one through four."

Morgan, who was coming off a 24-point performance against Wisconsin-Green Bay on Dec. 29, was the first Michigan State player to get 30 points and 10 rebounds since Peterson did it against Michigan on Feb. 1, 2000. Morgan was named the Big Ten's co-player of the week along with Penn State's Geary Claxton, the second time this season he has earned the award.

"Was it my best game?" said Morgan, who has five 20-point games this season. "Probably so. My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball on the break. I just tried to let the game come to me."

Freshman Kalin Lucas chipped in 17 points off the bench Saturday for the Spartans, who are opening their Big Ten slate with two home games for the first time since 1985. All-American Drew Neitzel was held to four points on 2-for-11 shooting, but Michigan State still improved to 9-0 at the Breslin Center.

The Spartans are off to their best start since going 16-1 to open the 2000-01 season.

"If Drew had been held to four a year ago, we'd have been in trouble," Morgan said. "We're so much deeper and more balanced this season."

The Boilermakers (10-4, 1-0) are coming off Saturday's 65-58 win over Michigan, their first win in a Big Ten opener since 2003. Keaton Grant scored 17 points and hit a career-best five of Purdue's nine 3-pointers as the Boilermakers won their third straight.

Purdue ranks eighth in the conference with just 5.9 3-pointers per game, but took advantage of Michigan's zone defense.

"The fewer 3s we take, history shows, the more we make," coach Matt Painter said. "It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I think we're more efficient when we shoot a lower number. We've got to get a good mix of getting the ball inside."

Scott Martin, who leads the Boilermakers with 11.0 points per game, had just seven after scoring a total of 30 in his previous two games.

Purdue leads the all-time series with Michigan State 60-42, but has lost 13 of the last 18 meetings.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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