By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
THE hurricane relief effort put on by the Michigan State Spartans and Georgia Bulldogs raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit victims of last summer's storms.
The Spartans took an 80-62 win over the Bulldogs at the Van Andel Arena in Grands Rapids, Michigan Sunday afternoon.
Prior to the game, Izzo and Georgia head coach Mark Fox presented a cheque for more than $339,000 that will be donated to the American Red Cross and American Red Cross - International, benefiting victims of the summer hurricanes, particularly in Georgia and The Bahamas.
Bahamian senior point guard Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn finished with two points and two assists in 16 minutes for the Spartans.
Spartans head coach Tom Izzo said giving back to the community is a major tenant of the programme.
"It's special. We had dinner last night and told our team that life is about giving back. Today we got to be a part of maybe helping some people that we didn't have as tough of a time as they've had. It was a great trip. We had a great meal. We took our players down to the Rosa Parks statue today, circle. You just don't realise that some of the problems that you have in the world are because sometimes kids don't know. We made them sit there and read everything on her and took a great picture," Izzo said.
"I'd say that those things are all great. But, then the game. The game was frosting on the cake. To have a game of that quality this early in the season.
"Mark's (Fox) a good friend and a good guy and he's got maybe as physical of a team as we've played in years."
The Spartans led by nine points (40-31) at the break, but an early run from Georgia pulled the visitors to within five points (42-37). MSU led by seven points (50-43) and used a 21-10 run over a span of 6:15 and took its biggest lead (71-53) on a 3-pointer from Matt McQuaid with 5:14 to play in the game. Georgia would pull to within nine points twice in the final two minutes but got no closer.
Michigan State shot 50 per cent from the field and 30 per cent from three-point range.
"I want to begin by just reiterating my thanks to the Michigan State family and the community of Grand Rapids for their support of this game," Bulldogs head coach Mark Fox said. "Certainly, when you do something for a cause greater than yourself you need help to really make an impact and this couldn't have happened without Michigan State University and the great support that their fanbase and the city of Grand Rapids provided. I thank you from the bottom of our hearts from the Deep South."
"It means a lot," Nairn said to the Detroit Free Press.
"Being a kid from the Bahamas, we have a lot of hurricanes every year.
"We have something called hurricane season. Just to be able to play in a game like that, to give back -- especially being a kid from the Bahamas -- it's something special to be a part of."
Michigan State plays its final exhibition game on Friday, November 3 at Breslin Center, hosting Hillsdal at 7pm.