The Spartans were led by the amazing Cassius Winston who had 23 points, six assists, and six rebounds while playing 39 of the games 40 minutes. Kenny Goins who was badly injured in the win over Minnesota was able to not only play, but to start and be on the court for 35 of the games 40 minutes. He had 12 points and nine rebounds. Nick Ward was the only other Spartan in double digits. He had 12 points and six rebounds.
Tom Izzo said, “It was a war. Tough place to play. I think our defense to hold them to 21 points in the second half was critical. To win six games on the road no question is one of our biggest accomplishments so far.”
Badger head coach Greg Gard said of the game, “Disappointed in the outcome and how we played down the stretch. In a game like this against a team like this, you have to be complete. Obviously the last 10 possessions we were not. Credit goes to Michigan State, they make it hard to get good looks from three.”
The Spartans shot 44% from the field including 41% from the three. The Spartans shot a mediocre 73% from the free throw line. The Spartans had 11 assists on 25 baskets.
Izzo added. “I really enjoyed (grit) of this team. I thought Cassius (Winston) played with more grit. That is a keyword. That is a tough thing. I felt like the grit, the defense and the rebounding gave us a chance along with Cassius who brought us back there.”
The Spartans won the battle of the boards 40-28. The Spartans had 13 turnovers. The Spartans had an impressive 13-4 lead with fast break points.
Gard raved on Cassius Winston and his performance saying, “Consummate point guard in terms of making the decision and having the ball in the right place. Puts a lot of pressure on your team putting the ball in the right place. Impressive to watch his maturity, but not prepare and play against him and obviously one of the top two if not the best point guard in the league.”
Izzo played all eight players including two of his five freshmen. Aaron Henry finally made teams pay for backing off of covering him. He had eight points and five rebounds but looked for his shot all night.
The Spartans return to Big Ten action against the Buckeyes of Ohio State this Sunday at 1 PM back in East Lansing. That game can be seen on CBS.
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