EAST LANSING, Mich. — Adreian Payne scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half and fifth-ranked Michigan State rolled to a 78-48 victory over North Florida on Tuesday night.
Branden Dawson added 12 points and Denzel Valentine scored 11 for the Spartans, who were ranked No. 1 in the country before a loss to North Carolina on Dec. 4. Michigan State (9-1) narrowly avoided an upset against Oakland last weekend before routing an overmatched North Florida team.
Jalen Nesbitt scored 11 points for the Ospreys (5-7), who have also lost big to Ohio State and Indiana this season.
Michigan State led 50-19 at halftime after shooting 71 percent and holding North Florida (5-7) to 7 of 32 from the field.
Guard Gary Harris, Michigan State’s leading scorer, did not play because of an ankle injury.
This was Michigan State’s first home game since the disheartening loss to North Carolina. It was played in front of a subdued crowd, although there was an understandable roar with 7:46 left in the first half when some members of the school’s Big Ten champion football team were introduced.
By then, the basketball Spartans had this game under control. Michigan State beat Oakland by only four points, but Tuesday’s game was one-sided from the start.