Michigan State rallies to beat BYU 68-61

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(AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Drew Neitzel scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half as No. 9 Michigan State rallied to beat No. 20 Brigham Young 68-61 on Saturday, extending the Spartans' winning streak to five games.

Goran Suton had 12 points and 13 rebounds and Raymar Morgan scored 15 points for Michigan State (8-1), which was 16-for-24 from the field in the second half and quickly overcame a 10-point halftime deficit.

The Spartans opened the second half with a 14-3 run, showing speed they didn't have in a listless first half, and pulled away down the stretch on some clutch shooting by Neitzel.

Trent Plaisted scored 17 points and Sam Burgess added 12 for BYU (7-2), which couldn't overcome poor shooting and the Spartans' quickness in the second half.

The Spartans outrebounded the Cougars 37-29.

BYU has won 35 straight at the Marriott Center in Provo, but this game was played in Salt Lake City at EnergySolutions Arena, home of the Utah Jazz. The Cougars had the crowd behind them, but it wasn't enough to throw the Spartans out of synch.

Michigan State led 57-56 when Neitzel pulled up from just inside the arc for a jumper that put the Spartans up 59-56, then after a defensive stop and a timeout, Michigan State went back to Neitzel for a 3-pointer that increased the lead to 62-56 with about 2:20 left.

Cummard made two free throws to get BYU within four points, but the Spartans sealed it from the free throw line and held the Cougars to just one field goal the rest of the way. By the time Burgess hit a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left, Michigan State still led 66-61 and it was too late for BYU to complete a comeback.

BYU was 7-for-23 from the field in the second half and had only two field goals in the first nine minutes. The Cougars went 7-for-13 from the free throw line over the last 20 minutes and weren't able to build on what few leads they had.

After trailing 35-25 at halftime, the Spartans picked up the pace in the second half and opened with a 14-3 run. Suton made a layup that could have been a three-point play, but he missed the free throw, to get Michigan State within 38-34 with 17:10 left in the game.

The Spartans forced a turnover, then Neitzel hit his second 3-pointer of the short half to cut the lead to 38-37. After a foul on Lee Cummard under the basket, Suton banked in a hook to give the Spartans their first lead since 2-0.

The first half was the opposite for Michigan State.

The Cougars shut down the inside early and the Spartans were unable to get much of a rhythm going. Michigan State missed 15 of its first 20 shots and had five turnovers in the first 5 minutes.

The Spartans were forced to shoot from the outside and were 10-for-34 from the field, but atoned slightly by outrebounding BYU 23-14. The Spartans had 15 offensive rebounds and converted 17 points off them.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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