EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State survived a scare
against Georgia Tech.
What the Spartans did not escape was the wrath of their coach.
The Yellow Jackets' Zam Fredrick hit the rim on a shot from
about 30 feet as time expired, and Michigan State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP)held on
for an 88-86 victory Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The Spartans (4-2) led the entire game, but the Yellow Jackets
(2-2) never let the home team get comfortable because they shot 52
percent and made 10 3-pointers.
"We don't want to guard anybody," Michigan State coach Tom
Izzo said. "That's going to change.
"If you don't check, you don't win championships. We're trying
to invent a new brand, and I'm not buying."
Paul Davis scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half for the
Spartans, but his two missed free throws with 4.3 seconds left
allowed Fredrick to get off a 3-pointer that would've given the
young Yellow Jackets a huge win.
"It's disappointing to lose like this," Georgia Tech coach
Paul Hewitt said.
Davis almost spoiled his performance by going 0-for-4 at the
"I don't know what was going on with my free throws, but I'm
not going to worry about it," he said. "If we lost, I would've
been cutting myself up more."
Davis was cut below his left eyebrow late in the game, but
didn't miss much time because of timeouts.
Michigan State led by nine with 1:18, but its lead began to
disappear after Anthony Morrow, Mario West and Ra'Sean Dickey made
three 3-pointers while the Spartans failed to seal the victory with
"We had them on the ropes," Dickey said.
Dickey scored 24 points and dominated inside and Morrow made
seven 3-pointers and finished with 23 points. Jeremis Smith had 14
points and 10 rebounds, and Fredrick added 11 points and 10 assists
for the Yellow Jackets.
"Drew Neitzel had one of his best games as a Spartan," Izzo
said. "He was the only guy I thought defended well. He pushed the
ball as hard as anybody we've had here, and he was looking for his
The Spartans led 42-32 at halftime and, after taking a 12-point
lead, the Yellow Jackets pulled to 46-43.
Davis was sensational as he made an assortment of shots midway
through the second half.
He scored 15 of 19 points for the Spartans, giving them a 72-63
lead. The 6-foot-11 center scored on putbacks, a low-post move, a
reverse layup, a hook, a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer.
"I didn't think he could shoot like that," Hewitt said.
Michigan State, coming off a Final Four appearance, has a roster
with some veterans while Georgia Tech lost five seniors and a
junior from last season's 20-win team.
"When we play for each other, instead of playing young like
we've done sometimes, we can be very good," Hewitt said. "This
team is capable of being a tournament-caliber team."
The Yellow Jackets' lineup with four sophomores got off to a
Michigan State scored the first seven points and led 15-5 after
Georgia Tech pulled to 27-26 midway through the first half
before trailing by 10 at halftime.
The teams played for the first time since an NCAA Tournament
game in 1990, when Georgia Tech won in overtime after Kenny
Anderson made a disputed shot at the end of regulation.
"If we would've had instant replay, we would've been in the
Elite Eight," said Michigan State assistant Dwayne Stephens, who
was a forward on the court for the Spartans at the time.