The #9 Michigan State Spartans came into this game needing a win and they got it. The Spartans improved to 17-3 (5-2) and took over sole possession of third place in the Big Ten with an 85-57vwin over Indiana.
Miles Bridges led the way for the Spartans with 22 points. Nick Ward had 18 and Matt McQuaid added 11. Jaren Jackson, Jr (3J) and Cassius Winston rounded out the Spartan scorers in double digits with 10. MSU had 23 assists on 32 baskets.
Indiana Coach Archie Miller said of the Spartans, “Congratulations to Michigan State. Just a really really good performance by them. They were really ready and prepared. They showed that they are right there for a league title and beyond that.”
Michigan State Hall of Fame Head Coach Tom Izzo said of the Big Ten tilt, “I don’t know what that game proves, give a lot of credit to our players. It has been a difficult week. I said our young team had to learn to deal with noise and me and they did. We really played a good first half and I was not pleased with the second half.”
The Spartans were not able to stop the hemorrhaging with the turnovers. MSU had 13 turnovers compared to nine for IU. Indiana, however, was not able to capitalize. They only scored 10 points off of those turnovers while Michigan State had 14 points off of the Hoosier mistakes.
Izzo added, “We rebounded the ball, we ran and we pushed it. We looked a little tired, but maybe because we had a week from hell. I am pleased. We definitely are not as bad as some make us out to be or as good as some would make us out to be, so let’s just keep grinding. We are young and our inexperience shows at times. I thought a lot of guys played better.”
The Spartans owned the boards. They grabbed 45 compared to the Hoosiers 27. MSU shot 54% for the game and held the Hoosiers to just 34%. The Spartans also had a 38-18 lead from points in the paint. Perhaps one of the biggest positives was Cassius Winston had nine assists and only one turnover.
Alex Rodriguez the star baseball player and well-respected entrepreneur was in the building for the game. He was in Michigan at the Detroit Auto Show and reached out to Michigan State to come to the game. He wanted to meet Tom Izzo.
Izzo said of having him here and his speaking to the team that, “He called a couple of weeks ago and talked about it. Then he called and he had watched our game versus Maryland. Came to the shootaround and visited our facility and football. He had a great message for our team. You look at that kind of guy and I was very very impressed. He was unbelievable, humble and he wished it had gone to overtime he enjoyed sitting in the Izzone so much. He talked about failing. He told the team that he has two thousand hits and 200 home runs, but what stands out to him is that he is in fifth place for strikeouts. He talked about how many times he had failed and had to get back up. If you would have seen our guys they were glued in. Anytime you can be around people that have achieved a level of greatness that is great to have around.”
The Spartans return to action on Monday night when they go on the road to Champaign, IL to take on the Illini. That game can be seen on FS1 and it tips off at 9 PM EST.
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