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No. 5 Spartans a 'Payne' for Longhorns
Updated: Saturday, December 21 2013, 10:14 PM CST
Adreian Payne came through for Michigan State when teammate Keith Appling was having an off day.
Payne scored a career-high 33 points in Michigan State's 92-78 victory over Texas on Saturday, helping the Spartans (10-1) dominate the final 11 minutes of the game after the Longhorns (10-2) controlled the game early on.
"This is probably Adreian Payne's best game of his life and definitely of his Michigan State career," Spartans head coach Tom Izzo said. "We went to him just about every time and he delivered almost every time, with the way he shot from the field, from the 3-point line, from the free throw line, getting nine boards. He did a heck of a job."
Payne hit 10 of his 13 shots from the floor and knocked down 11 of 12 attempts from the free throw line. He hit a pair of free throws to complete a 14-2 run Michigan State used to put the game away over a 4:22 stretch midway through the second half.
"Payne got off scotch-free in the second half because we didn't make him defend," Texas head coach Rick Barnes said. "Michigan State, they weren't No. 1 a couple weeks ago for no reason. They beat us. We really needed to make Adreian Payne defend. We didn't do that."
Appling, battling a hip pointer, had one of the worst shooting days of his career, connecting on only 2 of 11 attempts from the floor.
Payne was one of six Spartans to score during that 14-2 run. Branden Dawson, who had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, started with a layup. Gary Harris, who missed three of the previous four games with an ankle injury, followed with a 3-point play.
Between Gavin Schilling's putback and Travis Trice's 3-pointer, Appling got a layup to go, one of his few bright moments. But the way he responded after the game was one of Izzo's favorite moments of the game.
"Listening to him after the game, thanking the guys for picking him up was maybe as big a part of this as the win," Izzo said. "We came down here Thursday night because of plane issues. I wasn't really happy about that but it turned out to be really good because we got to spend a little team time. I think our team grew a little bit."
Cameron Ridley scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in a first half mostly controlled by the Longhorns, who was coming off an 86-83 win at No. 14 North Carolina. Texas opened the game on an 8-2 run and Michigan State led for only 56 seconds in the first half when Dawson gave the Spartans a 21-19 edge with a layup.
But the Longhorns quickly reclaimed the lead on two 3s by Damarcus Croaker. Javan Felix hit a 15-footer in the final seconds of the first half to give Texas a 38-36 lead going into halftime. His only 3-pointer of the game put the Longhorns on top 47-43 early in the second half but they never held that large of a lead again.
"All in all, it wasn't a championship but it's a big road win for us against a very, very good team," Izzo said. "I think both of those teams have a bright future in the second half of the year."
Texas entered the game averaging nearly 10 more rebounds per game than its opponent. But Michigan State outrebounded the Longhorns, 25-13, in the second half and shot 50 percent from the floor for the game while holding Texas to 39.3 percent shooting.
"We have to learn how to play for 40 minutes, especially against good teams like Michigan State," Felix said. "We played right into their hands by not moving the ball and not getting any movement on offense. That resulted in fastbreak points and got them in a rhythm."
Texas had four players score in double figures for the 10th straight game as Isaiah Taylor had 16 points and five assists while Javan Felix and Holmes each added 11 points.
Michigan State also had four players with at least 10 points, including Trice, who missed the Spartans' last game with a foot blister but chipped in 13 points while hitting 3 of 4 3-pointers. Harris scored 19 points in what was Michigan State's most lopsided win over Texas in school history.