It has been an eventful couple of weeks for Michigan State and not much of it has been on the basketball court. Earlier this week Lou Anna K. Simon resigned, and yesterday afternoon Mark Hollis resigned. Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo both gave statements on an Outside the Lines investigation that came out on Friday. More on that here.
It was wonderful to see the Izzone wearing teal in support of the Larry Nassar Survivors. In the wake of everything that has happened, the way the students have rallied behind this is inspiring and should make Spartans everywhere proud. I hope this is something that the Izzone continues to do as we move forward.
Early on in this one neither team was able to get it going which lead to a 11-8 lead for Michigan State with 13:50 left in the first half. MSU used a 17-3 run in which they shot 8 of 13 from the field, while holding Wisconsin to 1 of 11 to extend a 3 point lead to 17 with 5:47 left. Behind a Nick Ward double-double, and a beast mode Miles Bridges 15 points. The Spartans carried a 37-21 into halftime.
Things did not exactly roll down-hill come the 2nd half. Michigan State came out cold shooting 4 of 12 from the field and compounded it by committing 6 turnovers. Wisconsin on the other hand came out ready to play and made 9 of their first 12 shots. A 16 point Spartan lead dwindled to 6 and it was 46-40 with 9:53 remaining. As has seemed the case most of the year, Cassius Winston got hot when it mattered most. He gave some much needed breathing room to the 6th ranked Spartans. Knocking down three 3’s in the next 5 minutes to help extend the 6 point to 15. With a 59-44 lead Wisconsin would get no closer than 11 the rest of the way and MSU ended it with a 76-61 win. Apologies to those who took MSU at -17.
Cassius Winston finished with 17 points, 13 of which came after the 9:53 mark when the Spartans were holding onto a tight 6 point lead. Toss in the 6 assists he got along with this and an underwhelming game turned into a spectacular one for the point guard.
Miles Bridges ended the game with 24 points on 13 shots, 7 Boards and only 2 turnovers. Since the Rutgers game where he shot only 3 of 10 from the field, he has been a destroyer of worlds(and nets). Averaging 24 points and shooting at a 66% clip from the field. He has been tremendous.
Nick Ward had a quiet second half but was a huge reason for the 16 point lead going into the half. It is awfully hard to complain about a dude who has 12 points 11 boards and 5 blocks. Keep rolling big puddin.
Word to Wisconsin: you don't want to be in @IamNickWard's way.— Michigan St. on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) January 27, 2018
The @MSU_Basketball big man grabs the rebound and converts the putback, and it's a double digit Spartan lead: pic.twitter.com/f7D1GHgr2j
I don’t even know what to say about Jaren Jackson Jr. The dude is freaking incredible and he is a freshman. He passed Ken Johnson and broke the single season record for blocks at Michigan State last night. Depending on if you trust either ESPN.com stats or Basketball-Reference stats. He did it on his 2nd block of the night against Ethan Happ or on his 4th block of the night against… also Ethan Happ. Jackson has kept his absurd shot blocking pace going to break the single season record against Wisconsin. *self high five*
Unfortunately, that also means he will be leaving for the draft after this year. *missed the high 5 and hit myself in the face*
JJJ wasn’t the only one to make history last night as this team is now tied with the 2015-16 Spartan squad with the school record for most blocks in a season at 177. Hard to imagine them not taking sole possession of that, but hey you never know!
It is nice to see this team win games that they should win, and I am always happy to beat Wisconsin #realrival.
Next up is at Maryland on Sunday who you may recall we beat by 30, hoping for 40 this time.