The Michigan State Spartans improved to 14-2 (5-0) in a tough grind it out match-up with the Purdue Boilermakers (9-6, 2-2). The score definitely doesn’t reflect how close this game ended up being, as the Spartans pulled away late to get the 77-59 victory. The win also marks the Spartans ninth straight victory. Junior guard Cassius Winston looked like a leading candidate for Big Ten Player of the year, as the Spartans were able to shut down the Big Ten’s leading scorer Carsen Edwards. Here a few major takeaways from the Spartans victory.
Cassius Winston puts on a show
Winston looked like a man among boys making plays on his way to a 23 point performance along with five assists and six rebounds. Whether he made guys miss on his way to the basket, or a three-point splash Winston looked unstoppable on the offensive end of the court. Though early in the game it looked like Purdue was going to shut down Winston, especially with six foot six guard Nojel Eastern guarding him. After a slow start, Winston was able to get it going and really took off going 7-14 from the field and making four of his seven three-point attempts.
Only a couple of negatives for Winston in this one as he missed a pair of free throws, which is very uncharacteristic of Winston. The other only real issue was that Winston finished with less than average assists with five in this game, along with five turnovers. It looked like early on Winston was a little rattled by the Purdue defense, but when he took control the Spartans looked to him to score the ball in this game.
Spartans Continue to develop depth
Joshua Langford missed his second straight game, and it sure looks like he could be out for longer than many thought. No Langford, no problem so far for the Spartans as they continue to show that they can score the ball with any line-up on the floor. Kyle Ahrens was able to pitch in four points, three rebounds, and four assists. Senior guard Matt McQuaid came up big for the Spartans on both ends of the floor as he hit three big three-pointers along with assistance from freshman guard/forward Aaron Henry was able to lock down the Big Ten’s leading scorer holding Carsen Edwards to 11 points, when he is averaging around 25 points per game this season. Henry added four points, three rebounds and one steal, assist and block apiece off of the bench.
Xavier Tillman continues to impress off the bench as he finished this one with 11 points five rebounds, one assist and one steal. Senior forward Kenny Goins filled the stat sheet posting seven points, 11 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and three blocks. Nick Ward looked very comfortable playing at both ends of the floor on his way to a 16 point, nine rebound game. He also added an assist and three blocks. Freshman wing Gabe Brown added three more points as he continues to knock down shots from deep at a high rate. Michigan State was able to go 16-19 at the free throw line shooting 84.2 percent compared to Purdue’s 54.5 percent. Nick Ward looked outstanding at the charity stripe going six-for-six.
Spartan Defense comes up big
MSU defense came up big in the second half. The game was heavily contested both ways, after a high paced first half, the second half looked like most Big Ten games as of late, as the fouls really started to pile up for both teams. The combined final foul total was 39, but don’t let all the whistles take away from a great defensive effort for Michigan State.
Matt McQuaid and Aaron Henry came up big, as Carsen Edwards couldn’t find his rhythm most of the night. The Spartans were able to affect shots in multiple ways, as they were able to tally seven blocks along with five steals. The Spartans held Purdue to 31.3 percent from the field. Along with that, the Boilermakers attempted 31 three-pointers in this game and only managed to knock down seven as the Spartans held the Boilermakers to 22.6 percent from deep.
Michigan State has a few days off but makes a Sunday afternoon trip to Happy Valley to square off with the Penn State Nittany Lions (7-8, 0-4). Tune into CBS at 4:30 p.m. should be yet another exciting game in the Big Ten Conference, can the Spartans keep it rolling?