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January 21, 2009

Cats stun No. 7 MSU

EAST LANSING, Mich.(AP) Kevin Coble scored 31 points and Northwestern stunned No. 7 Michigan State 70-63 on Wednesday night, ending the Spartans' 28-game home-court winning streak.

The Wildcats (10-6, 2-4 Big Ten) used clutch 3-point shooting and an aggressive 1-3-1 zone to beat a turnover-plagued Michigan State team that got little from leading scorer Raymar Morgan.

Averaging 14.8 points per game entering Wednesday, Morgan did not start because of lingering flulike symptoms. He came off the bench early in the first half but finished with only one point in 18 minutes.

Michael Thompson had 20 points for Northwestern.

Kalin Lucas led the Spartans (15-3, 5-1) with 20 points.

Michigan State's home-court winning streak had been tied for third-longest in the nation. Only Notre Dame (45) and Kansas (35) had longer runs.

Wednesday's game was the 300th played at the Breslin Center, Michigan State's on-campus arena that opened for the 1989-90 season. The Spartans are 262-38 in the building, winning 87 percent of the time.

Michigan State's 5-0 start in the Big Ten was its best in conference action since 1977-78, when the Spartans opened with seven straight wins.

But Northwestern, relying on its aggressive defense and Coble's 19-point first half, trailed just 34-33 at halftime.

The Wildcats grabbed a 44-39 lead when Coble nailed a runner in the lane with 13:33 remaining. His leaning, 3-pointer off the glass just moments earlier had broken a 39-all tie.

Northwestern's lead grew to 48-43 with 9:22 left on a turnaround jumper by Luka Mirkovic.

Michigan State fought back to take a 49-48 lead on a pair of free throws by Durrell Summers. But back-to-back 3s by Craig Moore and Thompson gave Northwestern a 54-49 lead with 6:31 remaining.

The Spartans trimmed the lead to 57-55 on Lucas' 3-pointer with about 4:30 remaining, but Moore responded with a 3-pointer with 3:54 left to put the Wildcats ahead 60-55.

Coble's basket gave Northwestern a 62-55 edge with 2:14 left. The Wildcats made just enough free throws down the stretch to hold off a Michigan State comeback.

Moore finished with 11 points.

Goran Suton had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Spartans.


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