The sixth-ranked Michigan State Spartans improved to (16-2,7-0) in a gritty 70-64 victory on the road at Nebraska against the Cornhuskers (13-5,3-4) on Thursday night. It was a tough and huge match-up and the Spartans really showed how big a contender they could be.
The Spartans are facing a tough stretch in their schedule and with no Joshua Langford or Kyle Ahrens in the line-up and the Spartans continue to win ball games. The Spartans set a school record in this recent victory which marked their 19th straight regular-season win in the Big Ten. Nebraska was one of the hottest teams as of late and MSU was able to survive against a solid Cornhusker group. The win also snapped Nebraska’s 20 straight home victories. Here are some major takeaways from the Spartans win.
Spartans set records in big ways
The Spartans broke the school record for consecutive conference regular season wins by winning their 19th straight against the Huskers. The win also marked their 11 consecutive win of the season. Besides setting some team records, the Spartans leader Cassius Winston had a career night and also joined a list of many accomplished Spartans in history.
Winston wasn’t going to be denied in this game, as Winston was able to make plays in a big way to lead the Spartans once again. Cassius finished the night with 29 points on nine of 15 shooting. The 29 point output set a career high for Winston. He was also able to join the 1,000 points scoring list as well in this game. Winston became the 51st Spartan to score 1,000 points in a career. His total now stands at 1,006 points for his career. He joins Nick Ward as the second Spartan to reach 1,000 career points this season.
Winston added three rebounds, and six assists on the night as well.
Spartan Freshman are tough and gritty
Aaron Henry made his second consecutive start, and the Spartan freshman looked like a gritty veteran on the floor as he continues to fill the void left by the Langford and Ahrens injuries. Fellow freshman Gabe Brown continues to show that he has a bright future ahead as well.
Henry was able to pitch in with nine points, a rebound, and a steal in 19 minutes of play. Brown added three points, four rebounds and a block in a season-high 21 minutes off of the bench. Foster Loyer got a little bit of a test in this game and didn’t handle himself as well as the Spartans prior game at Penn State. In his two minutes registered in this game, he had a turnover and a foul. Thomas Kithier was able to play the final minute of the first half and grabbed a rebound.
Spartan Bigs are nasty
This seems to be a song stuck on repeat, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t as Michigan State’s post players, are getting it done all over the court. Senior Kenny Goins may not be flashy but, he certainly puts all his effort into his game. Goins ended up fouling out in this one, but he still had an impact at both ends of the floor. Kenny played 30 minutes and was able to fill the stat sheet once again on his way to seven points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal, and two blocks.
The Spartans sixth man Xavier Tillman didn’t have his best night but it was still a well-rounded game as he pitched in at both ends of the floor as well with five points, six rebounds, four assists, and one steal in 20 minutes.
Nick Ward shot the ball with a second left on the shot clock, and he drained it, that shot was a three-pointer and that was only the second he has ever attempted, and he is now two for two in his career from deep. Besides making that shot Ward put up his second straight double-double finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Ward added an assist and played 31 minutes which may be a career high in minutes for the big man.
The Spartans return home for a big-time match-up with the red-hot #19 Maryland Terrapins (16-3,7-1) squad on Monday night at the Breslin Center. Nebraska will look to rebound with a trip to Piscataway, New Jersey to face Rutgers on Monday.