EAST LANSING--What seemed to be an easy-match Division I-AA opponent, turned into a closer game than fans expected, as the 14th ranked Michigan State Spartans took on the Saint Cloud State Huskies Friday night at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans had trouble offensively in the first-half, committing 11 turnovers while shooting 50% from the free-throw line. Center Derrick Nix committed four of MSU’s 11 first-half turnovers, but freshman guard Gary Harris kept the Spartans in the game, leading the team in first-half scoring with nine points. The Spartans led at the end of the first half, 33-26.
However, with the play of MSU’s starting five, the Spartans edged out the Huskies 62-49. Harris finished the game with 11 points, and Nix had a team-leading 14 points while adding seven rebounds. Power Forward Adrian Payne tacked on his first double-double of the season, with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and point guard Keith Appling finished with 13 points and four assists. Four of the five starters finished with double-digit scoring.
Saint Cloud State showcased sophomore guard Kevin Levandoski, who is the nephew of MSU head coach Tom Izzo. But big man Connor Niehus, who scored 10 points and added 7 rebounds, led the Huskies for the night.
With the win, the Spartans improve to a 2-0 record, both wins coming form exhibition play. The Spartans have their next game on November 9th at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, versus the University of Connecticut.