No. 22 Virginia Falls To No. 21 Michigan State, 82-75
Dec. 4, 2002
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State hit Virginia with a 17-0 run and a style the Cavaliers couldn’t deal with.
Chris Hill scored 22 points and Aloysius Anagonye added 10 points and nine rebounds as the 21st-ranked Spartans beat No. 22 Virginia 82-75 Wednesday night in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
The Spartans took control of the game with the 17-0 run – holding Virginia scoreless for over six minutes – that made it 33-19 with 4:19 left in the half.
“I thought there were stretches where we played as hard as we have in a couple years,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “I didn’t realize we had a 17-0 run. That’s good. A lot of that came off our defense, and that makes it even more impressive. We didn’t do that last year.”
The Spartans (3-2) avoided their first three-game losing streak since the 1996-97 season, and their first losing record since 1995 when they started 1-2 in Izzo’s first season.
“It’s about Michigan State pride,” Anagonye said.
Virginia (3-2) lost to Indiana in the Maui Invitational final after beating Kentucky.
“They were holding us, grabbing us and mugging us, but that’s the way the game was played,” Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. “You’ve got to adjust to the game, and we didn’t.”
Not coincidentally, the game’s decisive burst began when Travis Watson was called for his third foul midway through the first half. The Cavaliers’ leader in scoring, rebounding and assists had just 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, six rebounds and no blocks.
“Travis Watson getting three fouls was a big blow for us,” Gillen said.
Michigan State led by 11 points at halftime and was up 59-41 midway through the second half.
Watson’s second basket with 7:02 left cut Virginia’s deficit to 59-50. The Cavaliers couldn’t get closer until a jumper by Billet brought them within seven points in the final minute.
“We still have a long way to go,” Hill said. “We have to learn to be more consistent and not let teams come back like that when we have them down.”
The Spartans relied on balanced scoring, scrappy defense and rebounding against Virginia just as they did in winning four of the past five Big Ten titles and advancing to three of the previous four Final Fours.
In addition to Hill and Anagonye’s 32 points, Alan Anderson (15), Kelvin Torbert (11), Paul Davis (nine) and Adam Ballinger (seven) gave Michigan State scoring options in addition to three other players who scored.
“That’s great to me,” Izzo said. “We did have some balance.”
The Spartans – with role players such as Tim Bograkos diving for loose balls – limited Virginia to 36 percent shooting in the first half and 47.4 percent overall and won the rebounding battle 31-28.
“We got on the floor and played more like we need to play,” Izzo said. “There are still stretches when that disappears, but that was a good team we played.”