EAST LANSING — Cassius Winston came back to Michigan State for his senior season to take the Spartans someplace special.
Today, he looked like a player possessed by his will to do so. In his final home game against Michigan, he didn't let up. Winston’s performance Sunday afternoon is just one reason why he is considered to be one of the best (and maybe even THE best) players in college basketball.
As fans, and even journalists, it’s easy to take this kid for granted because every time he steps onto the court, we all expect him to do something great — to make the night memorable in some way.
He did that today.
Cassius scored a career-high 32 points, shot 11-for-19 from the field, was 2-for-3 from deep, nine assists, and just two turnovers.
What else is there to say?
Cassius Winston is a special player, perhaps the best player this university has ever seen outside of Magic Johnson.
“Well, Cassius is a superb, phenomenal player,” said Juwan Howard. “He does an excellent job of reading whatever defense you throw at him. He’s just elite level; it’s that simple.”
He managed to control the game offensively and helped his team never relinquish the lead.
Winston scored the opening bucket and never looked back. He did things today as well as we’ve ever seen him do.
On more than one occasion, the Breslin Center blew up thanks to his theatrics on the court; whether it was driving, shooting, or creating for others, the crowd loved it today.
It was the loudest I had heard the Breslin since last season when they beat the Wolverines to win a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.
The Spartan superstar wasn't the only one who had an excellent performance today. His counterpart and probably the second-best player on the team, Xavier Tillman, gave MSU fans just as much to cheer about.
Tillman, who had a fantastic outing against Illinois, did it again versus the Wolverines. He finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and was 9-for-14 from the free-throw line.
During the postgame presser, Izzo praised Winston for what he did — going as far as to say “it was one of the greater performances this building has seen,” but made sure to include his running mate.
“Cassius is special, but don’t sleep on Xavier,” said Izzo. “Xavier has improved a lot.”