No. 15 Michigan State pulls away to beat Oakland

Oakland University gave No. 15 Michigan State quite a game for

about 35 minutes.

That wasn’t good enough for Golden Grizzlies coach Greg

Kampe.

Keith Appling scored 20 points to help the Spartans pull away to

beat Oakland 70-52 Friday night.

Michigan State led by just four points until Appling made a

3-pointer with 5:03 left. After the Golden Grizzlies made one free

throw, they were outscored 12-0 to turn a closely contested game

into a rout.

”I’m embarrassed,” Kampe said.

Duke Mondy scored 16 and Corey Petros had 14 points and nine

rebounds for the Grizzlies (2-4).

The Spartans (4-1) have won four straight since starting the

season with a loss to Connecticut in Germany.

Oakland never led, but didn’t make Michigan State’s night easy

until late in the game.

”To play on this stage, I’d rather get beat 99-0 than to do

what we did,” Kampe said. ”I can’t tell you how disappointed I

am.”

The Grizzlies are 2-30 against Big Ten teams, including an 0-11

mark against Michigan State.

But they have beaten teams from major conferences – Oregon and

Tennessee twice each – in four of the last five seasons and they

almost did it again last week at Pittsburgh.

And early on, it looked as if Michigan State might join the list

it didn’t want to be on against Oakland.

The Spartans got off to a shaky start with eight turnovers in

less than 8 minutes, allowing the Grizzlies to hang around and

trail by only one point.

Oakland, though, had no answer for Appling.

”That’s why he’s probably going to be an All-American, All-Big

Ten, or whatever,” Kampe said. ”Very good player, I wish he

played for me.”

Adreian Payne – who got a cramp in his left leg late in the game

– scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Derrick Nix

added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans.

Michigan State freshman forward Denzel Valentine had 10 points

and 10 assists, playing at times against his older brother, senior

forward Drew Valentine, who had five points and four assists.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said their parents, including

their father, Carlton, a former Spartan, have ”a lot to be proud

of with those two kids,” after watching them play against each

other for the first time in a game.

Michigan State, though, recovered well enough to lead 34-21 at

halftime. The second half was closely contested until the Spartans

started to dominate at both ends of the court and ended up

outscoring the Grizzlies 36-31 after halftime.

In both halves, Izzo gave Appling credit for leading the

way.

”He really put everyone on his back,” he said.

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage