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December 19, 2010EAST LANSING, Mich. - Tom Izzo watched his team play on TV from his home a few miles from campus.
Izzo had to like what he saw during his one-game suspension, even if he probably didn't like having to serve it.
Durrell Summers scored a season-high 25 points, leading the 14th-ranked Spartans to a 90-51 win Saturday night over Prairie View A&M.
The NCAA forced Izzo to miss a game because the school employed someone associated with a potential recruit during a basketball camp in June. The person was paid $475 for five days to work with middle school-aged campers.
No one with ties to Izzo recalls him missing a Michigan State game since Jud Heathcote hired him away from Northern Michigan to be a part-time assistant in 1983.
"I'd love to know who turned him in on this," Heathcote said in a telephone interview Saturday from his home in Spokane, Wash. "It sounds to me like a crock. It's ridiculous."
Michigan State associate head coach Mark Montgomery piloted the Spartans in Izzo's absence.
"Right away, as an assistant you think it's not fair, even though rules are always changing," Montgomery said of the precedent-setting suspension of a head coach for a secondary violation "Of all people, everyone knows - I've been with Coach Izzo 10 years and we haven't had any violation - we do it the right way. You know coach stands for doing it the right way. He is president of the NABC and you don't get that position without doing things the right way. It's one of those things we are going to move on from."
Montgomery said he didn't get any tips from his mentor during the game.
"There was no halftime talk," Montgomery said. "No text messages."
The Spartans (8-3) won easily, as expected.
"I know he was dying," Michigan State forward Draymond Green said of Izzo. "Coach isn't the type of person to miss a practice or film session, let alone a game. Knowing the type of person he is, it was eating him up inside."
Green scored 11, had eight rebounds and four assists, Kalin Lucas had 10 points and a season-high eight assists and Delvon Roe added 10 points.
Michigan State's Korie Lucious, who aggravated his injured right ankle, was limited to eight minutes and Keith Appling didn't play in the second half because he was dizzy.
"I don't think it's a concussion," said Appling, who was knocked to the floor late in the first half by a screener.
Trant Simpson scored 17 and freshman post player Demondre Chapman of Flint had 13 points for the Panthers (2-10) from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Prairie View coach Byron Rimm said he was disappointed he didn't get to share the same sideline with Izzo.
"Tom Izzo has been one of my idols for a long time," Rimm said. "I'm not going to say it depressed me, but I really wanted to see him and go against him.
"But if you had to pick a game, I'd pick Prairie View, too."
The Texas-based school extended the longest nonconference road losing streak in Division I basketball, dropping its 64th straight since a win at Houston in 2002.
"It was one of those games that our team is going to learn from," Rimm said. "Even though Izzo wasn't here, that's a great basketball team."
Michigan State won its 52nd straight game at home against nonconference teams since a loss to Duke in 2003 and that streak will get tested Wednesday night against No. 22 Texas at the Breslin Center.
Izzo will be back for that game and likely will be even more fired up to coach.
"I know he's ready to get back at it," Green said. "We have film at 10:30 in the morning and he'll probably be here at 7."
Izzo told his team after practice Friday that he had been suspended, then told reporters he was upset about the situation he called isolated and inadvertent before leaving on a recruiting trip.
The coach with a national championship and six Final Fours on his resume returned to observe Michigan State's pregame shootaround from a distance in the arena.
"He didn't say anything," Lucious said. "He just sat there and watched. I knew it was hard for him and it was different for us."
The Spartans, playing for the first time in a week, looked fresh and focused from the start against Prairie View.
Michigan State scored the first seven points of the game, quickly built and maintained a double-digit lead and was ahead 42-27 at halftime. Summers' slam gave the Spartans a 30-point lead midway through the second half and they cruised to the easy victory.
The Spartans have won two straight after losing three of six to Connecticut, at Duke and against Syracuse.
New Jersey NEWS