Spartans Hit The Road
Morgan looks to turn in a similar performance Sunday when the No. 11 Spartans (15-2, 3-1) visit the Golden Gophers (12-4, 2-2) in Minneapolis.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Michigan State PK point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Michigan State PK (View College Basketball bet percentages).
Michigan State beat Minnesota 65-59 on Jan. 5 in East Lansing behind Morgan, who was 11-of-17 from the field and added 10 rebounds to help the Spartans stave off a late Gophers run.
"We had no answer for Raymar," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said after the game. "He runs the floor extremely well."
Morgan leads the Spartans with 16.9 points per game, but he's coming off a season-worst six-point effort in Michigan State's 66-60 win over Ohio State on Tuesday. Hindered by foul trouble, the 6-foot-7 forward was 2-of-8 from the field and played just 19 minutes.
The Spartans led by as many as 21 in the first half, but the Buckeyes pulled within five several times after the break, the last time with 18 seconds remaining. Michigan State held on, however, as Drew Neitzel hit two free throws with 16 seconds left.
Neitzel finished with 13 points - his best total in four games. The senior averaged 18.1 points in 2006-07 but is scoring just 13.2 per game this season, although his assists have risen from 4.3 a game last season to 4.9.
Neitzel, though, had been held to a combined 23 points in the previous three games.
Michigan State got back on track after an embarrassing 43-36 loss to Iowa on Jan. 12. Neitzel and Morgan were the only Spartans in double figures with 10 points in the game, one that was forgettable for Michigan State for numerous reasons.
"Yeah, we made some steps in the right direction - as a team and individuals," Neitzel said. "I'm not fully up to my potential, but I'll get there.
"It was a win, and that's all we can ask."
The Spartans visit Minneapolis looking to hand the Gophers their fourth loss in six games. Minnesota is coming off a 65-60 defeat at No. 9 Indiana on Thursday after earning back-to-back conference wins over Northwestern and Penn State.
The Gophers shot 39.7 percent from the field against the Hoosiers and were outrebounded 42-26, but stayed close by forcing 26 turnovers. Minnesota, though, scored only 16 points off those giveaways and went 11-of-21 from the free-throw line, factors that cost it when Indiana went on a 7-0 run over the final 1:49.
"I think it's time for us to stop being happy with being in these types of games and coming down to the wire," Minnesota senior Lawrence McKenzie said. "We've got to go get one. I don't believe in moral victories. They don't show up in the win column."
Dan Coleman scored 15 points and had seven rebounds to lead Minnesota. Spencer Tollackson added 12 points and McKenzie had 11.
Smith will try again for career win No. 400 on Sunday. He's looking to lead Minnesota to its first victory over a ranked opponent since Feb. 18, 2006, when the Gophers beat then-No. 18 Iowa.
Minnesota leads the series with Michigan State 56-53, including 35-18 in Minneapolis. The Spartans have won the last two meetings and seven of eight.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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