East Lansing, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Gary Harris led the way with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, as No. 2 Michigan State began its 2013-14 schedule with a 98-56 rout over McNeese State in the first-ever meeting between both schools.
Branden Dawson added 12 points and 12 boards for the Spartans (1-0), who haven't dropped a season opener at home since 1970. Denzel Valentine clocked in with 12 points, while Keith Appling and Travis Trice totaled 11 points each.
"I think our guys deserve some credit, even though I wouldn't give them very much," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "There are still a lot of good things."
Adreian Payne posted another double-double after pouring in 10 points and grabbing as many rebounds.
Jamaya Burr and Ledrick Eackles each contributed 11 points in defeat for the Cowboys (0-1).
Adrian Fields drained a triple and McNeese took a short-lived 13-12 advantage with 5:35 played, but it was the last for the visitors in the contest.
Harris countered with a trey to kick off a 16-3 run, ending on his two free throws with 10:26 left before halftime.
Shaun Johnston connected from long distance and Burr followed with a bucket to shrink the Cowboys' edge to seven, but the Spartans pulled away from there.
Harris and Valentine sank back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to create a 13-point spread, and Michigan State's margin eventually ballooned to 52-25 at halftime.
The Spartans scored the first 11 points of the second half before three minutes elapsed. Alex Gauna's shot pushed the hosts' margin over 40 points just over 4 1/2 minutes in and MSU cruised the rest of the way.
"There are some positive things we can take back from this, but we've got to build on this game and find out how to play with this type of caliber team," McNeese State head coach Dave Simmons said.
MSU next faces Kentucky in the Champions Classic on Tuesday ... The Spartans shot 51.9 percent for the contest and held the Cowboys to 27.4 percent efficiency ... Michigan State also claimed a healthy 66-29 advantage on the glass.