EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Durrell Summers and his Michigan State teammates couldn’t buy a field goal in the first half against Minnesota on Friday. Spartans coach Tom Izzo told them to keep firing.
Sound advice from one of college basketball’s top coaches.
Summers scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half and the 20th-ranked Spartans shook off a cold first half to open Big Ten play with a 71-62 victory over No. 14 Minnesota.
His 3-pointer midway though the second half started an 8-0 run that gave Michigan State (9-4, 1-0) the lead for good.
It was the last of five straight 3s by the Spartans, who ended the game 8 for 24 from behind the arc after making just one of their first 14 tries. Michigan State shot 62 percent from the field (16 of 26) in the second half after missing myriad open looks in the first.
“It was frustrating, but I wasn’t upset because I thought 90 percent of the shots we took were good shots,” Izzo said. “I told them at halftime to keep shooting.”
It paid off as the Spartans made 12 of their first 16 shots in the final 20 minutes. Summers made four of five 3-point attempts during that stretch.
“We had the wrong guy guarding him, I guess,” Golden Gophers coach Tubby Smith said of Summers. “A team like that, once they get some confidence, they’re going to start making their open shots.”
Draymond Green scored 14 points and Korie Lucious and Delvon Roe (nine rebounds) both added 11 for the Spartans, who also got 10 points and seven assists from Kalin Lucas. The victory was a stark turnaround from Michigan State’s last appearance at home, a 67-55 loss to No. 13 Texas.
“You’ve got to have confidence,” Summers said. “The Texas game is over with.”
Trevor Mbakwe had 17 points and nine rebounds and Blake Hoffarber added 12 points for the Gophers (11-3, 0-2), who lost their second straight.
Minnesota closed the first half on a 12-5 run for a 28-22 lead. Michigan State got plenty of good looks from the field in the opening half but shot just 26 percent (8 for 31).
The Spartans entered the game averaging more than 16 turnovers per game but gave it away just eight times as Izzo improved to 6-0 in Big Ten openers at the Breslin Center.
The Gophers hurt themselves as eight of their 14 turnovers came in the second half. The loss was their 12th straight in East Lansing.
“Fourteen turnovers and eight were from our guards,” Smith said. “You can’t have that.”
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