The number six ranked Michigan State Spartans improved to (15-2, 6-0) on their road trip to Happy Valley to square-off with the Penn State Nittany Lions (7-10, 0-6) on Sunday as both teams continued action in the Big Ten. This is the only meeting between the teams this season.
Following their impressive home win against Purdue, the Spartans followed that up with yet another double-digit victory over an upset-minded Nittany Lion squad. Who continues to search for answers as they have yet to win a game in the Big Ten this season. With no Joshua Langford or Kyle Ahrens, the Spartans looked to others to step up in their absence. Here are some takeaways from the Spartans 71-56 victory.
It was a big game for three of the Spartans five members of their freshman class, as Gabe Brown and Aaron Henry saw increased minutes with Joshua Langford and Kyle Ahrens out of the line-up. Henry came up big for the Spartans in his first career start, as he filled up the stat sheet, finishing with seven points, two rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of play which also marked a career high in minutes.
Gabe Brown came up big on the defensive end of the floor, with four rebounds along with knocking down a three-pointer. Brown was able to pitch in an assist as well. Point Guard Foster Loyer saw increased minutes as MSU’s leader Cassius Winston ha his worst game of the season and dealt with foul trouble, and Loyer played a key role in this game as he was good for seven points, two rebounds and one assist. Loyer also was able to draw a pair of charges on the Nittany Lions.
Spartans Bigs continue to post big rebound numbers
Junior forward Nick Ward continued to post numbers for the Spartans, on his way to a double-double. Foul trouble didn’t stop Ward from having a great night on the floor for Michigan State. Ward had a little bit of everything for the Spartans in this game, as he stuffed the stat sheet.Ward was good for 16 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal, and two blocks. The only negatives for Ward were the four fouls and three turnovers he committed, but other than that Ward had a solid night at both ends of the floor.
Kenny Goins and Xavier Tillman joined in in the rebounding department as both were able to crash the glass as Goins finished with 10 rebounds and Tillman added seven rebounds. Tillman added five points and three assists and three blocks as well. Goins was able to knock down a couple of big buckets as he finished with seven points and three assists.
Winston struggles, but McQuaid comes up BIG!
It wasn’t the greatest of games for the Spartans leader, as Cassius Winston may have played the worst game of his Spartan Career. Winston was able to finish in double figures with 11 points, but it was his performance elsewhere on the court. Winston looked rattled and a little off of his game, finishing with six assists and seven turnovers.
Luckily for the Spartans, they didn’t need a twenty point performance out of their star point guard. Winston was able to add four steals, but he is going to lock down defensively and watch the turnovers moving forward if he wants to lead this team to their potential. This team goes as far as Winston can guide them.
Aside from Winston, senior guard Matt McQuaid was a huge playmaker in this game and he should definitely get credit where credit is due in the outcome of this game. McQuaid was able to make some big shots in a big way for the Spartans as he was able to knock down four three-pointers and finished with 15 points on the night.
The Spartans travel to Nebraska to square-off with the Cornhuskers (12-4, 2-3) on Thursday, January 17th, while Penn State hosts Iowa on Wednesday, January 16th.