Spartans halt Princeton offense, win 3rd in row

Chris Hill scored 16 points including three critcial three-point shot to lead the Michigan State Spartans to their fourth straight win, this time an easy 66-56 over the Northwestern Wildcats.

(EAST LANSING) - Chris Hill scored 16 points including three critcial three-point shot to lead the Michigan State Spartans to their fourth straight win, this time an easy 66-56 over the Northwestern Wildcats.

Paul Davis added 15 points, most of them in the second half. Hill and Davis' performance help offset a solid 25-point effort by Northwestern senior forward Jitim Young.

Young's ability to get inside the interior of the Michigan State defense had to be troubling to Spartan head coach Tom Izzo. Izzo though, gave credit to Paul Davis for matching Young's intensity in the second half of the ball game.

"He did a much better job of posting in the second half. We weren't very agressive in the first half and one of the things we were worried about with that zone was we would start relying on outside shots, not getting inside. We made a concerted effort at halftime to get the ball inside. [Davis} did a better job inside, we did a better job.

Once the Spartans were able to get the ball inside to Davis successfully, they were able to work their 'inside-out' offense, kicking the ball to the wins where Hill did serious damage and Maurice Ager and Alan Anderson chipped in with 14 and 12 points respectively.

"I think we have to get the ball in there, go through Paul, go through K.T.--whether's its K.T. at the high post or Paul Davis at the low post-- and then we get the ball in and out a little better and we get better looking shots."

Northwestern coach Bill Carmody conceded that while they were able to stay with the Spartans for most of the first half, MSU increased their intensity at the half and that was pretty much the difference. "In the second half, I think they (Michigan State) came out with a little more intensity. In the second half, it seemed like they just took over. They were getting (the ball) inside, penetrating a little bit. I think we responded a little too much, a guy would take a dribble and we would react a little too much."

Carmody said despite the Spartans brutal non-conference schedule --and its results-- the Spartans have followed the formula for Big Ten success. "I think it's a formula for success, and I've said this before. In the conference, you defend your home court and you split on the road. They were 6-0 coming into this game at home and 3-3 on the road. It's a very solid team."

Michigan State will have to play with second half intensity for the entire 48 minutes when they travel to Ann Arbor on Tuesday to face a racous crowd and a hungry Michigan team at Crisler Arena. Earlier, the Spartans easily defeated the Wolverines at the Breslin Center 71-54.


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