Dolphins fall to No. 10 Michigan State, 80-51

Dec. 1, 2007

Box Score

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State showed why it's ranked in the top 10 nationally with its balanced inside-outside attack and closed the game on a 26-10 run en route to a 80-51 win over Jacksonville on Saturday night at the Breslin Center.

The 10th ranked Spartans had four players in double figures, led by Raymar Morgan's 24 points and seven rebounds.

The strong finish by Michigan State (6-1) soured a strong performance by the Dolphins as they trailed by just 14 with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation.

Michigan State's inside attack created 46 points in the paint and the Spartans guards pushed the ball up the floor quickly enough to put up 19 fast break points.

Ben Smith led the Dolphins effort, scoring 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He also led JU in assists with five and rebounds with five, the first Dolphin to lead JU in points, rebounds and assists since Jesse Kimbrough accomplished the feat against UNF on Jan. 7, 2007.

"I thought we attacked the basket pretty good and that we played hard for about 25-30 minutes," said JU head coach Cliff Warren. "They do a great job with all five players on the floor. Ben did a good job of leading the team, he just needed to get a little more help from this teammates."

Against the more physical Spartans, JU held its own on the glass as Michigan State held a 34-29 advantage in rebounds. The Dolphins were able to take advantage of their second chances, getting 15 points on offensive rebounds.

After a slow start that saw the Dolphins (3-3) fall behind 9-2 via 1-of-8 from the floor. JU was able to battle over the final 15 minutes of the first half, hitting 10-of-19 to go into the locker room trailing by just 10, 38-28.

The Dolphins continued to hang around over the first 12 minutes of the second half, trailing 62-48 with the ball and just 7:36 left in the game.

But the Spartans depth and strength inside took over, forcing the Dolphins into some difficult shots and turning those into quick baskets the other way as JU scored just three points in the final seven minutes.

Morgan was joined in double figures with Marquise Gray's 11 as well as Drew Neitzel and Chris Allen with 10 apiece.

The Dolphins hit the road again as they face the two-time defending national champions on Monday as they travel to Florida. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.