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Revisionist History: Looking back on the Las Vegas Invitational

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One easy win against UCLA, one interesting one against Texas

2018 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational - Michigan State v Texas Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Anyone even remember these games?

You were probably either a tad annoyed that MSU was tipping off so late on Thanksgiving, or you were just keeping the night going thanks to this game being on. And same goes for the following night.

MSU won the first of their many accolades in Sin City in these two days. So, let’s take a look back at them.

So...what happened again?

No. 11 MSU 87, No. 17 UCLA 67

If you wanted MSU to give you a stress-free game so you could get back to Thanksgiving festivities without fretting, you were in luck!

If you wanted MSU to play in a close game so you had an excuse to not talk with family members that annoy you…you were probably still in luck, I doubt they even checked the score or cared!

MSU came out completely guns a’blazing with a 25-point halftime lead thanks to 60 percent shooting. MSU ended the game without a lick of stress and a 54.2 3-point field goal percentage. Four Spartans scored in double-figures and Cassius Winston led with 19 points and other than that...nothing exciting to report. And hey — we’ll take boring every once in a while! Now time for a huge game against No. 7 North Carolina wait what the heck, Texas won their semifinal?!? Alright...

2018 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational - Michigan State v Texas Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

No. 11 MSU 78, Texas 68

Hey, remember last night’s game? When MSU beat the f’ing brakes off of UCLA immediately? Remember how fun that was?! HOW ABOUT WE DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE THIS TIME AROUND!

Our Spartans stared at a 19-point deficit with 11:15 left in the first half, and boy were things not feeling great. Obviously.

However, this team found its footing and eventually regrouped strong enough to win the thing. Obviously.

Coming out of the locker room down 44-36, MSU said “enough of the games” and went to work against the eventual national champions. Starting with a 3-pointer by Joshua Langford and ending with another 3-ball by Cassius Winston, MSU barnstormed on a 22-5 run to grab a 58-52 lead.

That lead never shrunk to more than four and, FOLKS, it looks like we’ve got a second half team on our hands!

What these games meant at the time

Well, the UCLA game was great! I mean, we just smacked around a top 25 team like it was a varsity vs. JV game! And that’s a great UCLA team that will surely be in the tourney and no turmoil whatsoever during the season...right?!

The Texas game, in hindsight, obviously showed the first signs of this team’s resolve when the going got tough. They were calm, collected and just killed the Longhorns with quality defense and outside shooting. Wonder if we’ll see that again and again throughout the season...

And let’s talk about Langford — 29 points off 5-6 3-point shooting in that Texas game? 20 points and 10 assists from Winston too?! Man this duo is about to be dynamic all season long...well, at least it felt that way.