Spartans blow out Ramblers, 87-52
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Matt Costello and No. 19 Michigan State went to work early against overmatched Loyola of Chicago.
Costello had 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Spartans cruised 87-52 on Friday night to win their home opener for the 38th straight season.
"I was a lot more aggressive tonight," Costello said after his second double-double in three seasons. "I know to get open shots on the perimeter, we’ve got to be a force down low. So we were getting the ball and going to work."
Branden Dawson and Marvin Clark Jr. each scored 15 for the Spartans (2-1). Travis Trice added 13 and Denzel Valentine 12, and Michigan State never trailed.
"I thought we did some really good things that we needed to do," coach Tom Izzo said. "There were some incredible bright spots."
Milton Doyle had 13 points for the Ramblers (2-1), who lost their 20th straight road game. Loyola, which came in making 55.1 percent, hit just 24 percent and was down 38-14 at halftime.
"That was painful for you to watch and for us to coach," Ramblers coach Porter Moser said. "I’d like to have been a fly on the wall at their practice the last couple of days."
After struggling inside in a six-point win at Navy and a 10-point loss to Duke in the Champions Classic, Michigan State was determined to get the ball to its big men early and often.
The Spartans did exactly that when Costello scored his team’s first six points and backup Gavin Schilling added six more before the break, nearly matching the Ramblers’ first-half total.
The Spartans led 17-2 and gradually built their cushion to 37 points midway through the second half, dominating in nearly every way.
"It was real important for us to bounce back and play a great game," Schilling said. "I thought we did that tonight. I took it upon myself to be more aggressive and more physical."
Michigan State shot 63.2 percent from the field and 50 percent beyond the arc, while outrebounding Loyola 40-23 and getting 27 assists on 36 baskets. Trice, Valentine and Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr. each had seven assists.
"They’re tremendous passers off the dribble," Moser said. "They’re phenomenal sharing the ball. When you get 27 assists, that’s clear."
Loyola had just 13 assists and 15 turnovers.
"It was an amazing atmosphere against an amazing school with a rich tradition," said Joe Crisman, who had three points for the Ramblers.
"Obviously, we didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked. It was their first home game, and their fans were hyped. But it was a good barometer for us going into Missouri Valley play against teams like Wichita State and Indiana State," he said. "We didn’t get blown out of any games last year. So this is definitely a wakeup call."
Loyola of Chicago: The Ramblers haven’t won away from home in 22 months. But an early rout was a bit surprising — the Ramblers returned four starters from a team that nearly stunned the Spartans two years ago.
Michigan State: The Spartans haven’t lost a November game in Jenison Field House or Breslin Center since Nov. 29, 1986, an overtime game against Navy and David Robinson. … Izzo is 54-0 at home in November.
Loyola of Chicago: Visits UT-San Antonio on Tuesday.
Michigan State: Hosts Santa Clara in the on-campus phase of the Orlando Classic on Monday.
Besides sharing the scoring lead with 7-for-11 shooting, Dawson had seven rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot and a steal in 27 minutes. Yet, his coach said he could’ve done more. "He’s just so unselfish," Izzo said. "I’m going to have `Day-Day’ (ex-Spartans star Draymond Green) call him and tell him what to do when he’s having a good night."
Clark and Nairn Jr. had as much fun as they ever did at Sunrise Christian Academy last year. Clark was 5-for-6 from the field and 3-for-4 from long range in 12 minutes. But he drew a technical foul for screaming at Loyola’s Christian Thomas in the middle of a three-point play. "Marvin didn’t guard very well," Izzo said. "Guys were going around him. Offensively, he was great. But he and `Tum Tum’ are going to be freshmen, up-and-down."