Sunday, December 5, 2021

Spartans advance to 52 home wins with 78-50 defeat of Oakland

December 19, 2001
Sophomore guard Marcus Taylopr shoots over Oakland forward Dan Champagne in Wednesday’s 78-50 win over the Golden Grizzlies at the Breslin Center. Taylor led all scorers with 17 points, one of four Spartans to score in double-digits. —

The No. 17 MSU men’s basketball team completed game two of its three-game weeklong homestand defeating Oakland, 78-50.

The win extends the Spartans’ Big Ten history-making home winning streak to 52 games.

MSU took over the game as soon as the ball was tipped. It was a winning effort head coach Tom Izzo called “unselfish.”

“In the second half the best thing I got out of it was the unselfishness,” Izzo said. Sophomore guard Marcus Taylor “did a great job of getting (freshman guard Kelvin Torbert) involved.”

Torbert continues to look more comfortable on the floor and spoke of that after the win. The Flint native put together a 12-point performance, hitting 6-of-10 shot attempts.

And Torbert’s backcourt buddy, Taylor, said the control the Spartans had over the contest drove him to find more open looks for an array of players.

“After we started blowing up the lead a little bit everyone just started feeding off each other and tried to get other guys” scoring chances, Taylor said. “Plus, their defense was running at us a lot so it made it easier for us to drop off passes.”

In the first half, MSU ran the score to 8-0 before Oakland leading scorer Mike Helms, a guard averaging 18.6 points per game, completed a two-point bucket at the 16:56 mark.

But MSU answered, scoring the next three points with junior forward Al Anagonye leading the way. On the Spartans next possession, junior forward Adam Ballinger’s eight-footer, plus a foul shot, put the Spartans up 13-2.

Oakland was able to get within six points of the Spartan leadoff with a fast-break jam by Helms with 11:02 left in the half, but MSU’s defense stood firm, leaving Oakland with 17 first-half points (25 percent from the field).

That score continued to haunt the Golden Bears until the 15:29 mark as the Spartans compiled a 10-0 run to start the second half.

Taylor converted a three 13 seconds into the half and again Torbert joined him, converting the next two MSU buckets to bring the game to 40-17.

Oakland was able to more than double its first half offensive output, but there was no answer for MSU in the second.

“I think they are a very, very good basketball team,” Oakland head coach Greg Kampe said about the Spartans. “They’re probably a top 25 team. I don’t think they’re a top four team right now, but because they might have the best coach in basketball they may be by the time the season’s over.”

Taylor led all scorers with 17 points, shooting 6-12 from the field.

The Spartans next take on Seton Hall on Saturday at Breslin Center.


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