Two MSU games are in the bag at PK80, and MSU is in the title game against North Carolina. Easy as that.
This game looked very familiar to the DePaul game — tight first half, plenty of fouls in the first half, but a mostly stress-free second half.
Now let’s dive deeper into it:
Cassius Winston was bulletproof tonight. At one point scored 14 points (and assisted two other buckets) to grow a 51-44 lead to 71-53 late enough in the game to make a Spartan win inevitable. That performance shut the game down before the fire department could even get there to cool him down.
After a half with five points and two assists, Winston ended with a game-high 28 points to go with five assists. I mean, it’s not realistic to expect that every night, but something even close to that will make MSU a dangerous team we expected them to be.
The tone for the second half was set immediately with Jaren Jackson scoring five and Nick Ward adding four quickly to give MSU a 43-33 lead within four minutes of the second half. Part of that was adjustments and the other part was because the team was allowed to play with flow as fouls weren’t an issue anymore.
The turnovers weren’t an issue, thankfully. The Spartans only had eight total after a game where they had nine in the first half against DePaul. This was a huge step in the right direction for a team that has had turnover issues since last year, so I’ll hold off before calling this issue completely resolved. But still, a good sign.
Miles Bridges looked good out there. That was the big question coming into the night — how would he look in his first game back from injury? He looked to be running normally and nothing with his game seemed too restrained. The only difference was him not throwing down a dunk on a Winston alley-oop pass late in the game. However, the layup worked.
Jaren Jackson keeps trending up. After a bad game against Stony Brook and a decent game against DePaul, Jackson looked strong in his double-double night against UConn by flexing every part of his game. Long balls. Post ups. Being a monster on defense. Let’s hope these games can keep being strung together.
Up next is a tough North Carolina team. We’ll have to wait a day, but the next game will be at 12 p.m. instead of a.m. on Sunday against the Tarheels. North Carolina has yet to play in a close game this season, winning every game by double-digits.
We know this will be a tricky game as Tom Izzo is 2-9 against North Carolina in his career. North Carolina also comes in as a top ten team after their national title, so this will be a big one folks.