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Wright State wrong for Spartans

No. 8 Michigan State suffers 52-48 upset loss to Raiders

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Posted: Thursday December 30, 1999 10:42 PM

  Joe Bills Wright State guard Joe Bills celebrates the Raiders' first win over a ranked opponent since 1995. AP

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- Wright State hit eight consecutive free throws over the final 3:15 -- including the clinching two by Marcus May with 13 seconds left -- as the Raiders stunned No. 8 Michigan State 53-49 Thursday night.

The upset was the biggest win ever for Wright State (4-8), which has had losing records the last three seasons and didn't move up to Division I until 1987.

A.J. Granger of Michigan State (9-4) had 17 points in a return to his home state, but leading scorer Morris Peterson struggled all night and ended up with five points on 2-of-15 shooting. Mike Chappell added 10 points for the Spartans, who were again without All-America guard Mateen Cleaves who has missed the entire season with a stress fracture in his foot.

Michigan State came in averaging 75 points a game while shooting 48 percent from the field, but was held to a season-low point total and hit just 18 of 55 shots (33 percent).

Kevin Melson led the Raiders with 16 points, while May had 14. Thomas Hope had 10 rebounds.

The last time Wright State beat a ranked team was a 71-70 victory over No. 25 Xavier in the quarterfinals of the 1995 Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament.

The Raiders scored the first seven points in building a 19-12 lead, but then went more than eight minutes without a field goal as Michigan State turned a 26-20 deficit into a 34-27 lead early in the second half.

After Wright State pulled even at 44 on Melson's baseline drive at the 6:12 mark, Michigan State took its final lead -- and hit its final field goal -- on Chappell's 3-pointer with 4:42 remaining.

The Spartans missed their last three shots from the field and had four turnovers the rest of the way.

Wright State -- which scored its last nine points at the foul line -- pulled even on a foul shot by Joe Bills and two more by May. The Raiders took the lead for good on two more free throws by Melson with 1:55 left.

After Michigan State -- which shot just 21 percent from the field in the second half -- missed a shot and had two turnovers on its next three possessions, Israel Sheinfeld made two free throws with 21 seconds left for a 51-47 lead.

Charlie Bell, playing the point in Cleaves' absence, hit two foul shots for Michigan State, but May made two more with 13 seconds left to close the scoring.

Wright State finished 15-of-20 from the free throw line while the Spartans were 8-of-11.

The Spartans never led until closing the first half on a 12-0 run built around Granger's two 3-pointers and two perimeter jumpers by Peterson.

Wright State's first seven points came on a 3-pointer by Tyson Freeman, a dunk by Bruno Petersons off an assist by Freeman and an inside hoop by Hope.

Petersons was making only his second start of the year and Freeman had started in just three other games for the Raiders, with coach Ed Schilling shaking up his lineup to get more firepower off the bench.

Coach Tom Izzo had said last week that he hoped Cleaves could return this week, but said Monday he won't be back until the Big Ten opener, Jan. 5 against Penn State.

The Spartans scheduled the game as a homecoming for their four native Ohioans, including starters Andre Hutson and Granger.

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