Nov 23, 2001
By HAL BOCK
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK - Maybe Melvin Ely is just a slow starter.
Fresno State's 6-foot-10 center was scoreless in the first half but more than made up for it with 14 second-half points to lead the Bulldogs to a 63-58 victory over No. 13 Michigan State on Friday in the consolation game of the preseason NIT.
"Our goal was to win in New York," Ely said.
And he made sure they did.
Ely shook loose for seven second-half baskets, including four in a row, as No. 23 Fresno State held off Michigan State.
"The coaches have been working on my shooting when I'm double-teamed," Ely said. "In the first half, I was happy to throw the ball out and get assists for my teammates."
Ely missed both of his first-half shots but had six rebounds as Fresno built a 32-23 halftime lead. The Bulldogs were hot even if Ely was not. Fresno State hit 12 of 21 shots from the field while Michigan State managed just 10 of 34.
Coach Jerry Tarkanian said Ely was walking around the dressing room at halftime congratulating his teammates on their shooting.
Ely got the congratulations after the second half.
Ely scored the first Fresno basket of the second half, and after Damon Jackson nailed a 3-pointer, Ely scored again as Fresno opened the lead to 39-30.
Marcus Taylor and Adam Wolfe scored five points each for the Spartans, cutting Fresno State's lead to 43-40. That's when Ely took over.
His four straight baskets opened a 53-42 lead for the Bulldogs (3-1). After Michigan State (2-2) used an 8-2 run to narrow the lead, Ely scored again.
Chris Hill's 3-pointer cut the lead to three points with 6.2 seconds left. But two more three throws by Mitchell sealed the victory.
Jackson had 14 points for Fresno State. Wolfe led the Spartans with 11 points, and Adam Ballinger and Hill had 10 apiece.
Coach Tom Izzo said he was disappointed with the lack of consistency from Michigan State's key players.
"We didn't give ourselves a chance to win," he said.
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