MAUI—The Michigan State Spartans (1-1) got back on track against the Chaminade Swords (0-1) in their first round game of the Maui Invitational on Monday afternoon. The Spartans won 89-67 after a shaky start in the first half.
The Spartans shot 7-of-9 from behind the arc and Maurice Ager led all scorers with 23 points. The Spartans didn’t appear to be suffering from jet lag in today’s game and especially in the second half seemed to be playing much better basketball in their second game at Hawaii in the past two days.
The Spartans were led by the terrific shooting by guards Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown. Ager tallied 23 points and was 4-5 from behind the arc. Brown added 18 points and shot 7-13 from the field. Brown played very well and there was no signs of the leg cramps that he suffered from in their opening game against Hawaii on Saturday.
In the first half the Swords were hanging tough with the Spartans and were led by guard Chris Reaves (18 points, 6-13 shooting). The Spartans came out cold from the field and relied heavily on Ager and senior center Paul Davis (16 points, 13 rebounds) for much of their offense in the first half.
At the end of the first half a shot at the buzzer by Shannon Brown gave the Spartans a 40-34 lead at half and a little momentum going into the locker room. That momentum seemed to carry over into the second half as the Spartans looked like a much more energized team.
In the second half Chaminade never really got a chance to get close to the Spartans as they pulled away with impressive shooting and baskets off of turnovers. The Spartans got to see a lot of young players in this game and our learning a lot about the players off of the bench.
Red-shirt freshman Maurquise Gray had 7 points and 9 rebounds including 3 offensive rebounds. In the first half Gray leaped over two Chaminade players for a tip-dunk on an offensive rebound that sparked a 9-2 run by Michigan State to close out the half. The Spartans also got a lot of minutes from freshmen Goran Suton and Travis Walton.
Chaminade struggled from behind the arc. They only managed to shoot 4-21 from three-point range. It was the first career game as a head coach for Chaminade’s Matt Mahar. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo had his first career game against Chaminade in 1995 in this same tournament.
The #12 ranked Spartans will play tomorrow night against #8 Gonzaga tonight.