#14 Michigan State PG Cassius Winston Talks Spartans

Hondo S. Carpenter

The #14 Michigan State Spartans enter a big week with a 15-5 (7-2) record. But with the conference season half over, the season is far from it.

The team will return to the hard-court Wednesday, January 29, 2020, in East Lansing, at the Breslin Center. It can be seen on BTN at 6:30 PM.

The Spartans are the current leaders in the Big Ten and are ready to win it again. MSU men’s basketball SID identified five quick things heading into the game:

1. Series History The game on Wednesday, Jan. 29 between Michigan State and Northwestern will be the 131st meeting between the schools ... MSU leads the all-time series with Northwestern, 92-38, including a 51-8 advantage in games played at the Breslin Center ... The Spartans have won the last 11 games in the series, including the last seven at home ... Northwestern’s last win in the series at the Breslin Center was an 81-74 decision on Jan. 21, 2009 ... The Spartans have won 27 of the last 29, 34 of the last 37, and 54 of the last 58 contests ... Tom Izzo is 37-4 in his career against Northwestern.

2. Last Meeting with Northwestern Cassius Winston scored 21 points to lead three players in double figures as then-No. 15 Michigan State held on to beat Northwestern, 77-72, at WelshRyan Arena on Dec. 18 ... Junior forward Xavier Tillman and sophomore forward Gabe Brown each finished with double-doubles ... Tillman had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Brown added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the first double-double of his career ... MSU led 37-27 at halftime and extended its lead to 47-31 early in the second half and still led by 10 points, 69-59, with 2:40 left before Northwestern used an 8-2 run and pulled to within four points, 71-67, after a layup from Pete Nance with 44 seconds left ... Foster Loyer hit four free throws and Tillman added two more in the final 33 seconds as the Spartans hung on for the win.

3. About the Spartans Senior guard Cassius Winston leads MSU, and ranks third in the Big Ten, in scoring, averaging 18.0 points per game … Winston is also fourth in the league in assists, averaging 6.1 per game, second in free throw percentage, connecting on 85.4 percent of his shots (70-of-82), 14th in field goal percentage (42.8%) and sixth in 3-point percentage (37.4%) ... Junior forward Xavier Tillman is second on the team with 13.9 points per game (T13th in the Big Ten) and tops the team (3rd in the Big Ten) with 10.0 rebounds per game, while adding 3.1 assists (11th in the Big Ten) per game and 2.1 blocks per game (T4th in the Big Ten) ... Tillman is the only player in the league in the top-15 in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks ... Sophomore forward Aaron Henry is third on the team with 9.8 points per game, while adding 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists ... MSU has four other players averaging at least 4.0 points per game, led by sophomore forward Gabe Brown, who is averaging 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds ... Freshman guard Rocket Watts adds 7.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists ...Freshman forward Malik Hall, who had his first career start at Minnesota, is averaging 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds, and sophomore forward Marcus Bingham Jr., is averaging 4.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

4. Winston Selected as Candidate for Senior CLASS Award Cassius Winston has been named a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award. Winston is one of 30 players considered for the annual award ... To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition ... An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

 5. Winston Breaks Michigan State and Big Ten All-Time Record for Career Assists Senior guard Cassius Winston handed out four assists in the win over Wisconsin on Jan. 17 and became the all-time leader in assists at Michigan State and in the Big Ten Conference ... Winston’s 817 career assists (he now has 830) broke the career record – and Big Ten mark – of 816, held for 20 years by former Spartan Mateen Cleaves ... Winston, who has scored 1,753 career points and ranks among the top-10 all-time in scoring at MSU, is the first player in Big Ten history to score at least 1,600 points and hand out at least 800 assists.

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