EAST LANSING, Mich. - No. 19 Michigan State 92, Tuskegee 56: Keith Appling scored 25 points and Michigan State beat its historically black Division II foe at the Spartans' former home, the Jenison Field House.
What was expected to be a glorified exhibition turned out to be competitive for a half. Tuskegee's Jacob Pettway's second 3-pointer cut what was an 11-point deficit to 23-21 with four minutes left in the first half. The Spartans led 33-26 at the break and then broke the game open with a 12-1 run early in the second half.
Derrick Nix had 11 points and 13 rebounds as Michigan State (9-2) dominated the glass, outrebounding the smaller Golden Tigers 60-31. Gary Harris added 10 points for the Spartans, who never trailed.
Tuskegee (1-5) got a dozen points from both Calvin Thomas and Javier McKinney but the pair shot a combined 11-for-39 from the floor.
The game was a tribute to one played nearly 50 years ago in the 1963 NCAA tournament's Midwest Regional semifinals. In that contest at Jenison, Loyola of Chicago, which featured four African-American starters, beat segregated Mississippi State 61-51 en route to the national title in what is referred to as the Game of Change. The NCAA labeled the game as one of its 25 defining moments.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The Spartans beat Wichita State in the second round of the NIT on March 20, 1989, in the last game they played at Jenison before moving to the Breslin Center. ... It is most likely the final game that will be played at the site. ... Ted Hillary officiated the game, his last as a Big Ten official after 44 years on the job. ... Several members of the renowned Tuskegee Airmen were in attendance.