The #11 Michigan State Spartans improved their record on the season to 5-1 with a 78-68 championship game victory over the Texas Longhorns. They won the Las Vegas Invitational.
The Spartans came out slow, but a late first-half comeback led their attack back into it. They trailed by 19 with 11:21 left in the 1st half.
Izzo said to FOX at halftime that, “We deserved what we got. (Cassius) Winston came out casual, Kenny (Goins) came out casual. We did not play hard. Give (Texas) a lot of credit. They played 10 times harder than we did, so that’s the difference in the game. When you have five turnovers in the first four minutes, it’s the difference in the game. This is embarrassing to me.”
The Spartans were led by Joshua Langford Winston who had 29 points and five rebounds. Cassius Winston was the only other Spartan in double digits as he had a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists.
The unsung hero of the entire tournament was Kenny Goins who had six points and four rebounds. He did have five turnovers but was a defensive juggernaut defensively.
The Spartans had an embarrassingly high 24 turnovers. That led to 22 Texas points and it was the reason the Longhorns played so well.
The Spartans shot 51% from the field including 60% from the three. The Spartans shot an improved 78% from the free throw line and had 17 assists on 26 baskets.
The Spartans led the battle of the boards 42-23. Izzo played 12 players including four of the five freshmen. Aaron Henry had eight points and six rebounds, but Thomas Kithier led the freshmen with two points and six rebounds and was a star on defense.
Cassius Winston won the MVP of the tournament and he was joined by Joshua Langford and Nick Ward on the all-tournament.
The Spartans return to action against Louisville on Tuesday in Kentucky. That game is part of the ACC vs. Big Ten challenge. It tips off at 7:30 PM and can be seen on ESPN.
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