Field Level Media
Jan 29, 2020
No. 14 Michigan State blew open a tight game Wednesday night with a dominant run that bridged both halves in a 79-50 rout of Northwestern at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
Cassius Winston scored a game-high 18 points for the balanced Spartans (16-5, 8-2 Big Ten), which took over first place in the conference by a half-game over Illinois. Xavier Tillman and reserve Foster Loyer added 12 points each.
Pat Spencer scored 11 points to pace the Wildcats (6-14, 1-9), who fell deeper into the Big Ten basement as they again struggled to produce points. Northwestern made just 19 of 54 shots from the field, including only 3 of 19 from the 3-point line, as it suffered its 12th consecutive defeat against Michigan State.
Michigan State started the game as though it would quickly run away from the conference's last-place team. Loyer canned a 3-pointer off a Northwestern turnover to give the Spartans a 16-2 cushion at the 13:12 mark.
But the Wildcats, who played Michigan State bucket-for-bucket six weeks ago before falling 77-72 at home, answered that surge with one of their own. Chipping away steadily over the next 10 1/2 minutes, Northwestern trimmed the deficit to 26-22 on Boo Buie's driving layup.
Buie then had a chance to bring the Wildcats within a bucket, but missed a layup after a Spartans turnover. That led to two free throws by Tillman, starting a 7-0 spurt that gave the home team a 33-22 lead at halftime.
Another 7-0 run started the second half, Tillman jamming in transition for a 40-22 advantage with 17:21 left. After Ryan Young temporarily stopped the bleeding for Northwestern with a layup, Michigan State rattled off six straight points. Winston's steal and layup made it 46-24 at the 13:31 mark.
Not even technical fouls on Spartans coach Tom Izzo and reserve Julius Marble, who was called for hanging on the rim after a dunk, could slow Michigan State down. The lead reached 36 in the last two minutes.
--Field Level Media