It took half an hour to get going, but the No. 5 MSU men’s basketball team pulled away to beat Texas 92-78 in Austin, Tex. Saturday afternoon.
Senior forward Adreian Payne scored a career-high 33 points, and grabbed nine rebounds for MSU, while Cameron Ridley netted 17 points to lead the Longhorns.
Texas was in control for the first part of the game.
Payne slammed home a pass from sophomore guard Gary Harris, who saw the floor for the first time since Dec. 4, but it took Demarcus Holland five seconds to run down the floor, draw the foul, and give Texas an 11-4 lead.
Payne scored the first nine points for MSU.
Harris brought the Spartans to within a point with just over 11 minutes left in the first half with an up and under that banked high off the backboard and bounced in.
Senior guard Keith Appling gave MSU their first lead of the game with just under ten minutes to go in the half.
The remainder of the half went back and forth, with the Longhorns leading by as many as six, but MSU pulled it back to within two headed to the locker room.
Michigan State went on a 8-0 run five minutes into the second half to take a five-point lead.
With just over 12 minutes left, Payne picked up his third foul and sat down. The next trip down the floor, Kendal Yancy hit a three-pointer tie the game.
MSU had a flurry of offensive action midway though the half, going on a 12-2 run, that saw freshman forward Gavin Schilling get a big time tip-in and junior guard Travis Trice hit a clutch three-pointer to force a Texas timeout.
MSU was efficient on the offensive end, scoring on 10 straight possessions during one run in the second half.
Dawson put the cherry on top of the game, and finished off a quiet double-double, when he jammed home a bounce off the hoop from sophomore guard Denzel Valentine.
After missing the Spartans’ last game with injuries, Harris and Trice contributed big time, combing for 32 points and five assists.
After poor showings from the free throw line for much of the season, MSU had a better day, hitting 27 of 33 from the stripe.
The Spartans return to action Dec. 28 against New Orleans before opening up the Big Ten season on the road on New Year’s Eve against Penn State.