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December 17, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Brandon Wood scored 16 points and No. 21 Michigan State overcame a sluggish first half to beat Bowling Green 74-60 on Saturday night.
Derrick Nix added a career-high 14 points to go with seven rebounds and Branden Dawson had 13 points for the Spartans (9-2), who have won nine straight. Draymond Green had 12 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double this season.
Jehvon Clarke had 14 points, A'uston Calhoun 12 and Jordon Crawford 11 for the Falcons (5-5), who outplayed Michigan State for much of the first half before trailing 35-33 at the break.
Bowling Green, the first visiting team to win in Breslin Center in December 1989, had a 25-16 edge in rebounds over the first 20 minutes, including a stunning 13-5 advantage in offensive boards. But the Spartans wound up leading 39-37 in that category.
The Falcons started fast in the second half, tying the game on Calhoun's layup. Green was called for a charge, his third foul.
But Wood answered with a 3-pointer from the wing and Dawson added a three-point play for a 41-35 advantage, Michigan State's biggest of the evening.
When Wood fed Green in the post, a pair of free throws upped the margin to eight. Dawson followed with another basket and foul shot to make it 46-35 during an 11-0 run.
After Bowling Green cut it to eight and appeared set to make it a six-point game, point guard Travis Trice soared to block a breakaway layup. Green fed Nix for a transition dunk.
When Nix scored again on an inside move and a no-look pass from Trice, the lead grew to 55-38, ending any thought of an upset.
Wood's alley-oop feed to Dawson for a reverse lay-in was the highlight of the last 10 minutes for the Spartans, who reverted to their early sloppiness and were outhustled again.
Michigan State shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and 47.2 for the game. The Falcons, who had shot at least 53 percent in three of their last four wins, were held to 37.5 percent.
After scoring 102 points in the paint in the previous two games, Bowling Green was held to 36 inside. That was reflected in the Spartans' ability to get to the foul line, shooting 27 free throws to the Falcons' 10.
Michigan State will have two more chances, against UMKC on Monday and Lehigh on Thursday, to get ready for its Big Ten opener against Indiana on Dec. 28.
Bowling Green is 0-2 in its five straight games away from home over a monthlong span.