EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP)—Michigan State didn’t wait for coach Tom Izzo to deliver a halftime tirade.
Several Spartans took it upon themselves.
Shannon Brown scored a career-high 27 points and No. 12 Michigan State rallied from a poor first half to beat Cleveland State 83-75 on Friday night.
Paul Davis added 24 points, while Maurice Ager had 22 for the Spartans (8-2), who trailed 46-35 late in the first half and got just 10 points from their other seven players.
“Before coach told us what we had to do, the players got on each other first,” Brown said. “We had to come out and compete and start playing Michigan State basketball again.”
The balanced Vikings (2-5) hit a school-record 14 3-pointers, including 10 in the first half, and looked nothing like the team that lost by 57 points at North Carolina in November.
“We got a good lesson tonight,” Izzo said. “All this about Tom Izzo and Michigan State’s football style doesn’t mean anything when we play like this.”
Raheem Moss and Patrick Tatham each had 12 points to lead Cleveland State. Victor Morris added 11 points and Carlos English 10 in a near-triumphant return for Vikings coach Mike Garland, a Michigan State assistant from 1996-2003.
“I’m really elated by our team in every way,” said Garland, a former backcourt partner of Izzo at Northern Michigan in the mid-1970s. “We hit them with some body blows that might have taken other teams out. But we came here to win the game, not to keep it close.”
The Spartans got rolling in the last minute of the first half and the first eight minutes after the break, outscoring Cleveland State 28-4 to take a 63-50 lead.
“We said we had to start listening and stop fighting each other,” said reserve Matt Trannon, who was part of the halftime attitude adjustment.
With much tighter defense, Michigan State’s biggest lead was 15 points with 5:39 left. But the Vikings never quit firing from outside and hit 45.2 percent of their 3-point tries.
“As hard as they played, I kind of enjoyed watching them,” Izzo said. “I don’t know if they’ll ever hit that many 3s again. But I know we’re going to play better defense. And we might have three-a-days tomorrow.”
The Spartans outscored Cleveland State inside 40-16 and had a 42-29 rebounding edge. Davis led all players with 11 rebounds in his sixth double-double of the season, while Ager added nine rebounds.
But Michigan State committed 19 turnovers and was lethargic throughout the first 20 minutes.
After the Spartans built a 23-14 lead, Cleveland State took control with aggressive man-to-man defense and began a barrage of 3-pointers.
An 18-5 run gave the Vikings a 32-28 edge. When Cleveland State finished a 29-10 surge, its surprising lead grew to 11.
Michigan State scored the last five points of the half but needed 12 from Brown and 10 each from Ager and Davis just to stay within six on a night the Spartans honored former stars Magic Johnson and Gregory Kelser from the 1979 national title team.
The Vikings produced 13 assists in the first 20 minutes and nearly delivered a major upset for a team with eight players from Michigan.