Izzo, Spartans host Northern Michigan

Tom Izzo and the Spartans come home to open up the Breslin Center on Sunday in an exhibition against Izzo's alma mater, Northern Michigan.

Tom Izzo and the Spartans come home to open up the Breslin Center on Sunday in an exhibition against Izzo's alma mater, Northern Michigan.

Izzo played guard for NMU's basketball team from 1973-77, being voted the team's MVP in his senior season. That same year, he was a third-team Division II All-America pick and established the Wildcat record for most minutes played in a season.

Izzo was inducted into the Northern Michigan University Hall of Fame in 1990.

Izzo's current Spartan team is coming off an exhibition win against Grand Valley State, 61-57. Drew Neitzel scored 27 points and Goran Suton scored 16 and grabbed 8 rebounds as the Spartans battled from behind throughout the contest.

The Lakers lead by as many as 16 points in the first half and by 13 in the second half, but could not hold off a late comeback by the Spartans.

Freshman Raymar Morgan missed the game for MSU with a shoulder injury and Maurice Joseph remains in the starting lineup at small forward until his return. Morgan remains probable for Sunday's game against the Wildcats.

The Spartans were 19-of-43 (44 percent) from the floor, while out rebounding the Lakers 25-23.

The starting lineup for MSU is expected to be Drew Neitzel and Travis Walton at guards, Goran Suton at center, senior Drew Naymick at power forward and Joseph will substitue for the projected starting small forward Raymar Morgan.

The Spartans feature three freshman recruits, Morgan, 7-foot center Tom Herzog, and 6-foot-6 guard Isaiah Dahlman. Izzo has stated that Dahlman will be the first sub off the bench.

As for the Wildcats, they have lost three starters from last season but two of their top three scorers from last year remain. Seniors Ricky Volcy (20.4 PPG) and Will Washington (10.9 PPG) lead a very young team into East Lansing.

The Wildcats averaged nearly 71 points per game last season while allowing 70 a game to their opponents. The Spartan offense will need to come alive and kick-start their team as they draw closer to their regular season opener.

While some might look too much into the Spartan's struggles with Grand Valley, the fact is that the Lakers were a very solid veteran team that is one of the best in Division II basketball. The Spartans were debuting a new starting lineup and one that has not played together in a game yet.

Sunday's game is another chance for the Spartans to fine tune things before the regular season.

INJURY REPORT: Already the team has hit a few bumps, Marquise Gray injured his ankle once again in practice and Raymar Morgan has a hurt shoulder. While both injuries are not serious, they do hurt the depth for Izzo's team.

Overall, the Spartans are a very raw, team right now that will rely heavily on the shoulders of Drew Neitzel early in the season.

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