Scores

Final

(11) Michigan State 82

(9-2, 1-0 away)

Oakland 66

(8-7, 1-1 Summit)

5:00 PM ET, December 27, 2008

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

1 2 T
#11MSU 44 3882
OAK 30 3666

Top Performers

Michigan St: G. Suton 16 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Oakland: K. Benson 20 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

Suton's start puts Spartans in comfort zone

Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Derick Nelson and Goran Suton won a high school championship together and now they are recovering from injury at the same time.

Unfortunately for Nelson, he's not having the same success as his old Lansing Everett teammate.

While Nelson limped through nine scoreless minutes for Oakland, Mich., Suton had 16 points and nine rebounds to help Michigan State (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) win 82-66 on Saturday at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

"G did some good things for us," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. "He's getting tired faster than he used to, because he's missed a lot of time. We're still waiting for him to be all the way back."

Suton was making his first start in over a month. He missed six games with a knee injury, then came off the bench in Michigan State's next two games.

"We've gone through some adversity," Suton said. "It's been hard for the coaches to set a rotation, especially with me being out, but I think we're getting better. If we just play solid defense and rebound, we'll be a really good team."

Nelson broke his foot the day before Oakland's first game, and was making just his second appearance of the season. He started, but went 0-2 with two fouls and three turnovers.

"People are probably going to criticize me for starting Derick, but the most important thing for us is to win the league, and we need him ready for that," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "The other thing is that he's a Lansing kid, and he deserved to hear his name and run out on the court."

Kalin Lucas added 15 points for Michigan State, which improved to 8-0 against the Golden Grizzlies, while Travis Walton had 14.

"I think that might have been Kalin's best game as a Spartan," Izzo said. "He won't believe that, because he had 15 points and six assists, not 25 and 15, but he did exactly what I wanted him to do. He controlled the tempo, he showed poise and he got the ball to the guys that were open."

Michigan State is now 9-2, with the losses coming to Maryland and North Carolina.

"I would have loved to be 11-0, and you'd dream about 10-1, but I would have taken 9-2 with Suton, and we did most of this without him," Izzo said. "The bad news is that we're doing the fine-tuning at Christmas that we should have been doing at Thanksgiving."

Keith Benson led Oakland (8-7) with 20 points, while Erik Kangas scored 15.

Michigan State's biggest scare came with 2:41 left, as freshman forward Delvin Roe fell to the court holding his left leg, but he quickly walked off the court under his own power. Roe has had two knee surgeries in the last year, but this turned out to be a different issue.

"My heart was down in my big toe, because I wanted to get some more minutes, but at least it wasn't his knee," Izzo said. "It's a sprained ankle, which isn't good, but it could have been worse."

The Spartans scored the game's first nine points, but Oakland responded with a 15-0 run before Michigan State scored 11 in a row to go up 20-15.

The Spartans had one more surge left, and went into the half with a 44-30 lead.

"We had the game tied at something like 26, but we had a couple turnovers that they turned into layups, and they got on a run," Kampe said. "We made too many mistakes on the defensive end, letting the ball get into the middle of our zone. That gave them easy shots and they got away from us."

Michigan State didn't have any lapses in the second half, leading by as many as 23.

The game drew 15,361 fans.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MSU
OAK
Points 82 66
FG Made-Attempted 32-62 (.516) 22-50 (.440)
3P Made-Attempted 11-20 (.550) 7-19 (.368)
FT Made-Attempted 7-7 (1.000) 15-17 (.882)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 12 (0/0)
Largest Lead 24 6

2008-09 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Dec 27, 2008 MSU 82, @OAK 66Recap