Spartans demolish Pack, 81-58

No. 24 NC State was out-hustled and out-muscled on Wednesday night at the Breslin Center for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, falling to No. 10 Michigan State 81-58.

Sidney Lowe said he expected No. 10 Michigan State to push the No. 24 Wolfpack. The Pack, Lowe said, needed to be strong enough to push back. On Wednesday night, they weren't.

The Spartans out-hustled and out-muscled the visiting Pack at the Breslin Center for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, powering their way to a blowout xx-xx win over an NC State team that never really competed with Michigan State.

The Spartans (5-1) dominated in every imaginable category. They out-rebounded the Pack (4-2) by a 40-to-28 margin, shot 52 percent for the game and had just 10 turnovers. The Wolfpack shot under 40 percent and had more than 10 turnovers by halftime. The Pack is now 5-4 in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games.

Senior guard Drew Neitzel led the Spartans with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting while center Goran Suton recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Forward Raymar Morgan added 15 points and seven rebounds for Michigan State.

Freshman J.J. Hickson led all scorers with 21 points and added. Sophomore guard Farnold Degand was the only Pack player in double figures, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Dennis Horner scored nine points off the bench.

The Spartans took it to the Wolfpack from the opening tip, as Michigan jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead by taking the ball to the rim for four easy baskets, prompting Lowe to take an early timeout. The move didn't work though, as the Spartans kept pouring it on the Pack. A Grant jumper with 16 minutes in the half would be the last field goal the Pack made over a stretch of nearly nine minutes. By the time Hickson put home a lay-up at the 7:36 mark, the Spartans had a 22-9 lead.

Still, the situation got worse. Michigan State rattled off another seven unanswered points to make it a 20-point margin, and the Pack looked like it had no chance of coming back. The Spartans dominated the glass in the first half by a 24-to-11 margin, had 19 second-chance points and pushed the Pack around for the first 20 minutes.

Even up by more than 20 points in the second half the Spartans continued to out-hustle the Pack, diving to save loose balls and sprinting down the floor for easy transition baskets as the Wolfpack stood watching. The lead stretched to over 30 points by the mid-way point of the second half, as the Spartans shot over 60 percent out of the locker room during that stretch.

The Pack did make a mini-run later in the second half. Trailing by 30 points, Degand and Dennis Horner drained back-to-back 3s to cut into the lead. Hickson followed with two quick scores to make it a 20-point deficit with five minutes remaining. The run would end there however, as Michigan State scored the next four points and the Pack never got any closer the rest of the way.

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