Once again on the road in a conference game and down two key players in Joshua Langford and Kyle Ahrens, the Michigan State Spartans needed somebody to step up offensively, and that player was point guard Cassius Winston.
The Spartans earned a 70-64 victory over Nebraska in a tough environment at Pinnacle Bank Arena behind Winston’s career-high 29 points on nine-of-15 shooting. He also added six assists, three rebounds and three three-pointers. Winston also hit a very impressive career accolade — joining the 1,000-points club. He is the 50th Spartan all-time to accomplish this feat.
Tom Izzo called Winston’s performance on Thursday “Unbelievable.”
Winston is now averaging 18.2 points per game, 7.3 assists per game and shooting .452 percent from three point range this season— according to FS1’S broadcast last night, he is the only player in the country to do that. The point guard now has 1,006 career points and 554 assists in his career.
After a rough game on Sunday against Penn State, in which Winston scored just 11 points and had seven turnovers and three fouls, the junior bounced back in a big way against the Cornhuskers. Not only was he picking up the slack on the scoring end for the missing players, but he also continued to see the floor well, making crisp passes and cutting down on his turnovers. His energy and ability to push the pace was huge for the Spartans.
With Langford out, Winston has really stepped up as a leader for his team. Langford hasn’t played since Dec. 29 against Northern Illinois. On the court over the past five games (all Big Ten conference games), Winston is averaging 20.2 points per game, 6.8 assists per game, 2.6 rebounds per game, and is shooting over 57 percent from the floor.
But it’s also been about how Winston leads by example and his teammates follow suit. He turned it on in clutch time and the Cornhuskers had no answer for him.
The No. 6 Spartans — who have won 11 straight game this season ad 19 straight regular season Big Ten conference games going back to last season, next host the No. 19 Maryland Terrapins on Monday night at the Breslin Center.
Congratulations for reaching 1,000 points, Cassius!