Balanced attack powers No. 3 MSU past EMU
East Lansing — Michigan State will head west this afternoon.
Before they did that, the Spartans had to take care of one more tune-up on Monday night at the Breslin Center.
Five players scored in double-figures as No. 3 Michigan State cruised past Eastern Michigan, 89-65, in a game that was part of the Wooden Legacy that Michigan State will continue later this week in Anaheim, Calif.
It was a boisterous crowd that had one of its biggest roars of the night for kicker Michael Geiger, who recreated the celebration windmill he had on Saturday in the football team's victory over Ohio State.
On the court, the Spartans (3-0) were busy spreading the wealth, led by a career-high 16 points from freshman Deyonta Davis and another all-around performance from sophomore Javon Bess. He followed a career-best 16 points three nights ago with 13 points and six rebounds while shooting 9-for-12 from the free-throw line.
"He played aggressively and got to the line 12 times," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of Bess. "He didn't finish a little bit in there but he started running the court and he was definitely the difference to start the second half."
Senior Bryn Forbes scored 12 and hit 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Junior Eron Harris had 10 points and seven rebounds. Senior Denzel Valentine flirted with a triple-double again, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
But he came out late in the game grabbing his right knee and flexing his leg while he sat on the bench.
Ty Toney scored 18 to lead Eastern (2-2). Willie Mangum added 10.
The Spartans led at the break, 40-25, thanks to getting to the free-throw line 17 times, hitting 13. Bess scored nine and was 7-for-10 from the line while Davis added nine points and four rebounds.
Harris had one of his best games, adding four assists. He led several fast breaks, finding Valentine twice and Colby Wollenman for a dunk. All of that came in the second half as Michigan State took control, building a 34-point lead late in the half.
"I thought Harris started to look like the guy we all know he is," Izzo said.
"I thought a couple of times he had shots he didn't take, but he had four assists and some great assists on the break. He's starting to get in on the offensive rebounds and starting to look more like Charlie Bell."
"They played like the No. 3 team in the country," Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy said. "They beat us up on the offensive glass and got a lot of second-chance opportunities."
Junior center Gavin Schilling (turf toe) missed his third game after getting injured in the final exhibition game. His status remains unlikely to play for Michigan State's games this week in the Wooden Legacy.
"I'd say we're a solid week away, maybe longer," Izzo said.
… Michigan State faces Boston College (3-0) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Wooden Legacy.