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Updated: Saturday, November 27, 2004 5:44 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(9) Michigan St 102, Nicholls St 52

EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Reaching the century mark usually doesn't come this easily for Michigan State. Then again, coach Tom Izzo normally doesn't play "soft" opponents at the start of the season.

For the first time in 41 years, Michigan State has started a season with three straight 100-point games, rolling to a 102-52 rout of Nicholls State.

After scoring 104 points in each of their first two games, the ninth-ranked Spartans reached the century mark again when freshman Drew Neitzel hit a 3-pointer with 68 seconds remaining.

That was the only drama in this game as Michigan State (3-0) raced to a 17-2 lead in the first four minutes and increased the advantage to as many as 34 points in the first half.

Maurice Ager scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half when Michigan State opened a 48-16 lead. He hit two 3-pointers and a free throw in the Spartans' game-opening spurt and added two free throws, a jumper and a dunk in a 20-2 run later in the half.

Michigan State led by as many as 59 points in the second half after a 3-pointer by Kelvin Torbert with 4:44 left.

"Well, I guess that teams go through this all over the country, where they play this nice kind of schedule," Izzo said. "Games go like this one did and that is why I am not an advocate of a schedule this easy. It has given us a false sense of security that will end, thank God, on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday."

After beating Florida A&M, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Nicholls State (0-3) in its first three games, the Spartans will play Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday.

The only other time the Spartans opened the season with three straight 100-point games was in 1963-64. Prior to this year, Michigan State had topped 100 points only twice in Izzo's nine seasons as coach.

Torbert scored 16 points off the bench, although he played more minutes than each of the starters. Shannon Brown and Alan Anderson each scored 15 for the Spartans, who shot 50 percent for the game.

But not all of the players were happy.

"We got 100 points again, but there were some times when our defense wasn't what we wanted it to be and we turned the ball over a couple more times than we wanted," said center Paul Davis, who scored 11 points.

Nicholls State shot just 32 percent, including 2-of-21 from 3-point range, and was outrebounded, 52-29. The Colonels didn't dress any player taller than 6-foot-6. Stefan Blaszczynski led Nicholls State with 15 points.

Afterwards, Nicholls state coach J.P. Piper admitted his team was intimidated by the surroundings.

"We were out in the snow last night looking at the statue of Magic Johnson, and if you're a basketball fan, this is a great experience," Piper said. "The 40 minutes that took place on the court were not necessarily a great experience in terms of having to sit through it, but as a basketball team, we will grow from some of the things that happened here."


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