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Spartans win Coca Cola Classic, put away Lamar 80-71

December 2, 2001
Lamar forward Marcus Campbell falls out of bounds with a loose ball while junior forward Adam Ballinger and freshman guard Kelvin Torbert look on during Saturday night's 80-71 win over the Cardinals at the Breslin Center.

The MSU men‘s basketball team won its sixth straight Spartan Coca-Cola Classic defeating Lamar 80-71 Saturday night in a game of rallies.

The game extended No. 22 MSU’s home-winning streak, the nation’s longest, to 48 games.

Five Spartan players finished in double digits, creating a deep offense that Lamar (2-3) couldn’t contain.

The Cardinals, coached by a former MSU assistant Mike Deane, came as close as seven in the second half, but when MSU hit 60 it rallied to outshoot Lamar 16 to two.

But MSU‘s run didn‘t come easy and didn’t completely put the game away.

The Cardinals looked like a carbon copy of the Spartans later in the half, cutting the lead to 10 on a hoop by forward Lewis Arline with 17:14 remaining.

Forward Damany Hendrix notched 15 points in the final eight minutes, including 12 from the line. Guard Eddie Robinson helped his teammate in the game-ending rally adding five points of his own.

The two-player Cardinal effort put the game within nine, but the Spartans held off Lamar‘s push to close out the contest in the final minute.

MSU (4-2) sophomore guard Marcus Taylor, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, set the game‘s tone with a quick bounce pass in the lane to junior forward Adam Ballinger who put the Spartans up 2-0. Taylor finished with 17 points and eight assists, and Ballinger had a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds.

But Cardinal forward Lewis Arline answered the Spartan tally quickly with a two point bucket of his own.

Lamar‘s tying touch didn‘t last long as MSU compiled a breezy 11-point run. But the Cardinals soon cut the game to six with Hendrix‘s three pointer.

Freshman forward Alan Anderson‘s left baseline jam and a trey from freshman guard Chris Hill continued the Spartan lead 16-5. At 15:32 Cardinal forward Mike Rigway cut the MSU lead in half with a three-point bomb.

An in-the-lane spin move by freshman guard Kelvin Torbert earned the Spartan’s a trip to the line to make the score 31-18 with 6:30 remaining.

But MSU couldn‘t convert on a Lamar turnover allowing Cardinal guard Tyler Hackstadt a three to cut the Spartan lead to 10. Sophomore forward Adam Wolfe, who finished with 11 points, hit a two pointer to bring the lead to 12, but Hackstadt was at it again hitting another trey.

Taylor‘s steal and coast-to-coast layup gave the Spartan‘s a 35-25 lead. From that point MSU outscored Lamar five to four to close out the half 43-33.

Spartan teammates Wolfe, Hill, who netted 10 points, and Ballinger earned spots on the all-tournament team along with Maine’s Errick Greene and Hendrix.

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