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Spirit of '79

MSU beats Penn in 25-year reunion of Final Four

Posted: Saturday November 29, 2003 6:48PM; Updated: Saturday November 29, 2003 11:16PM
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Shannon Brown threw his own 18th-birthday party Saturday and gave more gifts than he received.

  Chris Hill
Chris Hill had a strong second half.
AP

With 12 points off the bench, including three spectacular dunks, Brown energized the crowd and helped No. 3 Michigan State beat Penn 77-52 Saturday in the first game of the Coca-Cola Spartan Classic.

"I guess the way I scored them takes the momentum away from the other team," said Brown, one of the nation's most-heralded freshmen. "If I'd just laid it up, I think I'd have been booed. So I tried to make it a nice dunk."

Brown's style points didn't appear on the scoreboard, but the Spartans (2-1) appreciated all six of his baskets, his five rebounds in 21 minutes and the contributions of other reserves.

"Hey, he has to get an A-plus on those," said Kevin Torbert, who led Michigan State with 15 points from a new position, power forward. "He had some great dunks in the open court. He had me jumping at the other end."

The Spartans didn't jump out the way Coach Tom Izzo wanted in a game with plenty of poor play from both teams. The difference was that Michigan State didn't have to play well to win and the Quakers (1-2) did.

"I think we might have helped them play poorly, and I don't mean that because we were aggressive," Izzo said. "It was a poor start. We were 1-for-9, then 29-for-54 from then on. We might go back to playing 'War' [an anything-goes rebounding drill] before the horn starts."

Chris Hill added 13 points, all in the final 21 minutes, and the Spartans gradually took control with a 41-28 rebounding edge and help from 22 Penn turnovers.

New starter Maurice Ager and reserves Delco Rowley and Tim Bograkos also supplied a lift after Michigan State fell behind, as it did in Tuesday's 81-74 loss at No. 6 Kansas. That changed when Brown energized his team and the crowd with slams reminiscent of the 1979 national champions.

It was the schools' first meeting in 25 seasons, when the Spartans slammed Penn 101-67 in a Final Four semifinal in Salt Lake City. In the second game of the two-day event, DePaul beat Indiana State 78-66 in another rematch from 25 seasons ago.

The Quakers' Tim Begley led all scorers with 17 points. But after missing its first seven shots, Michigan State led 32-23 at halftime and pulled away behind .643 shooting from the field in the second half.

"We didn't run our offense very well," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "I think you can attribute that to us playing poorly and Michigan State forcing us to play poorly.

"They play a great pressure defense, and it really took us out of our game. They are an excellent basketball team, and we can only get better by playing them."

Izzo wants his team to play better in the championship game against DePaul and knows the Spartans will have to improve to beat visiting Duke on Wednesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

DePaul 78, Indiana State 66

Quemont Greer had 18 points and Delonte Holland had 16 for the Blue Demons (3-0), who will play No. 3 Michigan State (2-1) for the championship Sunday afternoon. Indiana State (1-1) faces Penn (1-2) in the consolation game.

Early in the second half, those second-round matchups would have been different. Indiana State had a 10-point lead with 16:02 left before DePaul's size and defensive pressure began to make the difference.

With legendary coach Ray Meyer and all-time great Mark Aguirre seated behind the Demons' bench, the winners closed with a 45-23 surge, aided by .583 shooting from the field.

Andre Brown's work inside was another key factor in the comeback. Brown had 10 of his 13 rebounds in the second half and contributed 14 points.

David Moss had 20 points for Indiana State to lead all scorers. Despite 8-for-8 accuracy at the foul line, he was 5-for-17 from the field and 2-for-8 in the second half.

The Sycamores were 10-for-21 from 3-point range and 12-for-13 at the line. They also did a better job of protecting the basketball. But they suffered from a 40-29 deficit on the boards.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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