No. 1 Michigan State pulls away to beat VaTech
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Adreian Payne scored 20 of his career-high 29 points in the first half and No. 1 Michigan State beat Virginia Tech 96-77 on Friday to reach the final of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Virginia Tech, with four all-time wins over No. 1-ranked teams, kept it close until a 15-3 run at the end of the first half gave Michigan State control for good.
The Spartans (5-0) advanced to play Oklahoma in the final Saturday at Barclays Center. Virginia Tech will face Seton Hall in a consolation game.
Gary Harris had 19 points for Michigan State, Keith Appling scored 13 and Branden Dawson added 12 with 10 rebounds. Payne also had 10 boards.
The Hokies (3-2) had won three in a row and were playing the Spartans for the first time. They got 27 points from Adam Smith and 23 from Jarell Eddie.
Eddie scored eight points during a 15-4 run that gave Virginia Tech a 20-14 lead midway through the first half.
But Payne and Harris carried the Spartans into halftime, scoring all 15 points during the run that gave them the lead for good.
Payne had 11 points during the spurt, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 46-33 at the break.
In the second half, Payne's block led to a dunk for Dawson at the other end for a 54-36 advantage. The Spartans stretched their lead as high as 30.
The Hokies fell to 4-8 all-time against top-ranked teams, the last win coming Feb. 26, 2011, against Duke ... Eddie was 6-for-9 on 3-pointers but Virginia Tech shot just 41 percent from the field ... The Spartans shot 50.7 percent ... Harris was 2-for-12 on 3-pointers.
11/23 01:31:28 ET