Spartans muzzle Montana

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2002

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Adam Ballinger scored nine straight points at the start of the second half as No. 9 Michigan State beat Montana 80-60 on Thursday night in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout.

Ballinger missed his only field-goal attempt in the first half as the Spartans built a 37-29 lead. He hit a pair of 3-pointers, a field goal and a free throw in a little more than two minutes to open the second half, pushing the lead to 46-29.

Ballinger finished with 11 points. Chris Hill led the Spartans with 23 points. Freshman Kevin Criswell scored 16 points and Steve Horne had 14 for Montana (1-2).

After Montana scored the game's first field goal, Michigan State (2-0) went on a 16-1 run and led 16-3 after five minutes. Montana closed to 18-17 when the Spartans scored just one field goal over the next nine minutes.

The Grizzlies then went on a scoring drought of their own. They hit just three field goals over 19 minutes until Chris McKay made a jumper with 4:50 remaining and Michigan State leading 70-44.

Montana shot 34 percent and was outrebounded 35-18.

Michigan State will face Villonova in the semifinals of the tournament tonight at 8 p.m. The semifinal game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Villanova advanced to the game against Michigan State by defeating Loyola Marymount 87-71 in Thursday's other semifinal matchup.

In the other semifinal today, Oklahoma State will face off against the College of Charleston. That game is slated for 5:30 p.m.

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