Forward Raymar Morgan continued his record setting streak of double figure performances by a freshman, netting ten to push the streak to six. Goran Suton added eight points and two rebounds while Travis Walton chipped in with six points, four boards and six assists.
But it was clear Neitzel was the best player on the floor. With shooting reminisicent of former MSU great and current Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles, Neitzel lit up the Breslin Center and the Catamounts in the process with his deadly range at one point, flirting with the hashmark.
Vermont coach Mike Lonergan said the Catamounts could only watch helplessly as Neitzel did what he does best.
For his part the junior guard said he felt like he was in a zone. "When your first few shots go in, your confidence goes way up," Neitzel said. "You think every shot is sure to go in. But my teammates did good job of getting me the ball and setting picks."
"We went into the game trying to stop Neitzel, limit his shots and we just didn't do a good job. We got off to a horrible start, and we struggled to score because of their defense. And they kept us off the glass with their offensive boards. Their size really hurt us, and Drew Neitzel had a great game."
But the rising star knew that coach Tom Izzo wasn't going to be satisfied with just an offensive output. "Coach was emphasizing long rebounds by the guards. And that's what we gave him tonight."
But Izzo, ever the taskmaster, wasn't happy with his team's shooting performance.
"We just had a bunch of guys that missed again, some easy shots and lay-ups," complained Izzo.
"We tried to regroup and start off the second half with a bang and we started alright, we made three baskets in a row. And then after that, I think we showed our immaturity and our inexperience. That's not going to cut it. I was disappointed. We ended with 16 turnovers which was a shame because I think we we're playing pretty well. To shoot 35 percent is a shame because we had enough good shots."
MSU jumped out to a early 11-4 advantage and the closes Vermont could whittle the lead to was six. MSU then stepped on the gas and led by 20 at the half. State led by as many as 25 points at one point in the second half.
The Spartans (5-1) have a few days to work out the chinks in their armour before hosting the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland University in a Saturday 2:00pm EST tip.