#6 MSU Stays Undefeated in Big Ten with 71-56 Win Over Penn State
A different team faced the Spartans tonight, but it was the same result. The #6 Michigan State Spartans improved their record on the year to 15-2 (6-0) with a 77-59 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions. It was the Spartans 18th straight Big Ten regular season conference win. It ties the school record.
Kyle Ahrens had taken the place of G Joshua Langford (4th straight game missed) when he went down with an injured right foot/ankle/leg. Today Ahrens was out with back spasms and true freshman Aaron Henry took his spot, but the result, as previously mentioned, was the same.
The Spartans were led by Nick Ward who had 16 points, 11 rebounds. Matt McQuaid had 15 points and was a defensive stud. Cassius Winston was the only other Spartan in double digits as he had 11 and six assists.
Tom Izzo said, “Cassius (Winston) has been unbelievable, he played pedestrian like today. That was out of body for him. Those turnovers and the game got physical. I didn’t think we handled it well. We got to pretty good players sitting out right now (Ahrens and Langford) and those freshmen got indoctrinated. I guess when you look at the whole thing it was OK, but I wasn’t real happy with the way we played.”
Spartan guard and Captain Matt McQuaid said of his stellar defense today, “I’ve been working on it since my freshman year just trying to get better every game and every day taking that next step. Just to do what this program is all about.”
The Spartans shot 49% from the field including 40% from the three. The Spartans shot a shoddy 68% from the free throw line and had 19 assists on 25 baskets.
The Spartans led the battle of the boards 41-28. Unfortunately, the Spartans had 17 turnovers.
Izzo played 11 players including all of the five freshmen. Aaron Henry the true freshman guard played 25 minutes and had seven points in his first start.
Tom Izzo added of the game, “They did a pretty good job getting around him (Nick Ward). Normally Nick is the physical guy and I thought they were as physical the other way. We didn’t handle it really well and then Nick got a little frustrated, but he hung in there pretty well. It was some of our other guys that didn’t play good enough. We didn’t look to get it into him. We wanted to get it into him on the break, and those two young wings were just not looking in there. They got him.”
McQuaid’s shot selection was terrific today. He said of that, “In this program, we have great players in Cassius (Winston) and Nick (Ward) and they give me a lot of open looks, especially Cassius and I mean Nick made that great pass out of the post and those two give me a lot of shots.”
The Spartans return to Big Ten action against Nebraska on Thursday in Lincoln, NE. The tilt tips off at 8:00 PM and can be seen on FS1.
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