The Michigan State Spartans improved to (5-1) on the season with a hard-fought and gritty victory over the Texas Longhorns in the Championship game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. After out matching a young UCLA Bruins team in the opener the Spartans rallied back from turnover trouble behind the efforts of Joshua Langford and Invitational MVP Cassius Winston who went for 20 points and 10 assists against Texas. Here are what we learned in the Spartans 78-68 win over the Longhorns.
Production from key players
Joshua Langford, Cassius Winston, and Nick Ward the Spartans junior class is who the Spartans are hoping to lead them to a deep run this season. Joshua Langford and Cassius Winston along with a quiet six point and eight rebound effort from Nick Ward really showed signs of what is to come for the Spartans this season. Winston followed up his 19 points and seven assist effort against UCLA, with a 20-point performance along with 10 assists to claim the MVP for the tournament. Joshua Langford had a career-high 29 points as he led the Spartans second-half-rally. Kenny Goins had a large turnover number in this one but he came up big offensively with six points and four rebounds.
Turnovers Could be a major problem Down the Road
The Spartans found themselves in an early hole, as they trailed 25-6 early in the first half against Texas, that included five turnovers in the first four minutes. The Longhorns came out early with by pressing the Spartans, and MSU didn’t handle it well. At the end of the night, the Spartans turnover number stood at 24. Cassius Winston’s seven turnovers, and Kenny Goins five could have easily meant the downfall of the Spartans in this game.
Texas used its size to really pressure the Spartans, and at many points, the Longhorns had MSU on the ropes, but regardless of the mounting turnovers the Spartans were able to tough it out and beat a really solid Shaka Smart coached Texas team, that beat the number seven North Carolina Tar Heels the prior night.
Spartan Defense has big Second Half
With less than thirty seconds remaining in the first half, the Spartans found themselves down by six. A late foul made it a 44-36 in favor of Texas at the Half. Down eight, and the Spartans needed an answer. They got an answer as the Spartans locked down on defense. The Spartans were able to get Texas to cool down from the field especially in the second half as they shot 34.4 percent from the field, compared to the Spartans 51.0 percent from the field. Michigan State was able to battle inside for rebounds in a big way as they controlled the boards with 42 rebounds compared to Texas having 23 rebounds.
The Spartans travel to Louisville, Kentucky to face the Cardinals in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday, November 27th. While the Longhorns face the Radford Highlanders at home on November 30th. Both have some big challenges ahead on the schedule, but if we learned anything about both teams tonight it is that they will both be tough outs game in and game out.