No. 15 Michigan State pulls away to beat Oakland
- Article by: LARRY LAGE
- Associated Press
- November 23, 2012 - 9:52 PM
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Keith Appling shook off a sprained right ankle in the first half and finished with 20 points to help No. 15 Michigan State beat Oakland 70-52 Friday night.
The Spartans (4-1) have won four straight since starting the season with a loss to Connecticut in Germany.
The Golden Grizzlies (2-4) never led, but didn't make Michigan State's night easy until late in the game.
Oakland cut its deficit to four points with 6 1/2 minutes left, then Appling made a 3-pointer to help Michigan State pull away.
The Spartans closed the game with an 18-0 run.
Michigan State's Adreian Payne scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Denzel Valentine had 10 points and 10 assists and Derrick Nix added 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Spartans, who were already without guards Gary Harris (shoulder) and Travis Trice (concussion), got a scare when Appling limped off the court late in the first half.
Appling, though, was able to start the second half and made some key baskets soon after Oakland made some shots to stay in the game.
Duke Mondy scored 16 and Corey Petros had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Golden Grizzlies.
Oakland is 2-30 against Big Ten teams, including an 0-11 mark against Michigan State.
But the Grizzlies have beaten teams from major conferences — Oregon and Tennessee twice each — in four of the last five seasons and they almost did it again last week at Pittsburgh.
And early on, it looked as if Michigan State might join the list it didn't want to be on against Oakland.
The Spartans got off to a shaky start with eight turnovers in less than 8 minutes, allowing the Grizzlies to hang around and trail by only one point.
Michigan State recovered well enough to lead 34-21 at halftime. The second half was closely contested until the Spartans started to dominate and ended up outscoring the Grizzlies 36-31 after halftime.
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