It took a few minutes for the Spartans to hit their stride, but midway through the first half the No. 15 MSU men’s basketball team (3-1) took control, heading into the locker room leading Oakland (2-3) 34-21 at the end of the first half.
A lackadaisical beginning to the first half saw MSU turn the ball over eight times in the game’s opening eight minutes, preventing the Spartans from finding an offensive rhythm.
The turnovers resulted in 12 points for the Grizzlies, who struggled to shoot the ball, making two of their first 17 shots before finishing the half shooting 20.7 percent.
After the early struggles to hang onto the ball, MSU used its aggression to help find an offensive flow, needing less than 11 minutes to get into the bonus.
By forcing their way into the paint against an undersized Grizzlies team, MSU went on a 10-1 run to take its first double-digit lead of the game, 20-10, with 8:22 remaining in the first half.
Eight of the 10 points were a result of baskets or fouls drawn in the paint.
Junior forward Adreian Payne powered the run, scoring six points of the 10 points before finishing the half with seven points and eight rebounds.
With 2:04 remaining in the first half, junior guard Keith Appling left the game with an injury that didn’t appear to be serious.
The Spartans are already dealing with a depleted backcourt, with guards Travis Trice and Gary Harris both out due to injury.
Before getting injured, Appling led the way for the Spartans in the first half with eight points, four rebounds and two assists.
The bulk of Oakland’s offense came from sophomore center Corey Petros, who scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds to keep the Grizzlies close.