AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Derick Nelson and Goran Suton won a high school championship together and now they are recovering from injury at the same time.
Unfortunately for Nelson, he s not having the same success as his old Lansing Everett teammate.
While Nelson limped through nine scoreless minutes for Oakland, Mich., Suton had 16 points and nine rebounds to help No. 11 Michigan State win 82-66 yesterday at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
G did some good things for us, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. He s getting tired faster than he used to, because he s missed a lot of time. We re still waiting for him to be all the way back.
Suton was making his first start in over a month. He missed six games with a knee injury, then came off the bench in Michigan State s next two games.
We ve gone through some adversity, Suton said. It s been hard for the coaches to set a rotation, especially with me being out, but I think we re getting better. If we just play solid defense and rebound, we ll be a really good team.
Nelson broke his foot the day before Oakland s first game, and was making just his second appearance of the season. He started, but went 0-2 with two fouls and three turnovers.
People are probably going to criticize me for starting Derick, but the most important thing for us is to win the league, and we need him ready for that, said Oakland coach Greg Kampe. The other thing is that he s a Lansing kid, and he deserved to hear his name and run out on the court.
Kalin Lucas added 15 points for Michigan State, which improved to 8-0 against the Golden Grizzlies, while Travis Walton had 14.
I think that might have been Kalin s best game as a Spartan, Izzo said. He won t believe that, because he had 15 points and six assists, not 25 and 15, but he did exactly what I wanted him to do. He controlled the tempo, he showed poise and he got the ball to the guys that were open.
Michigan State is now 9-2, with the losses coming to Maryland and North Carolina.
I would have loved to be 11-0, and you d dream about 10-1, but I would have taken 9-2 with Suton, and we did most of this without him, Izzo said. The bad news is that we re doing the fine-tuning at Christmas that we should have been doing at Thanksgiving.