No. 19 Spartans beat Tuskegee at historic venue

Game marked 50th anniversary of "Game of Change"
No. 19 Spartans beat Tuskegee at historic venue

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.