Michigan State Spartan Basketball Gets Back On Track With A 77-65 Win Over Rutgers

Hondo S. Carpenter

Breslin Center

East Lansing, MI

The #10 Michigan State Spartans recovered from the loss to Duke to open Big Ten play with a win 77-65 over Rutgers. They improved to 6-3 on the season.

The Spartans were led by Cassius Winston who had 23 points and seven assists. Xavier Tillman had 14 points and ten rebounds and Gabe Brown who took Rocket Watts starting role while he is injured had 14 as well. Aaron Henry was the only other scorer in double-digits and he had 12 points.

Tom Izzo said of the contest that, “I hope you have a better evaluation of that game then I do. They were putting pressure on us the whole game. We ran as good as we have ever run the first ten minutes. We played a lot of guys a lot of minutes and to win a game against a team as physical as them was good. We had three guys on the parameter that went five for 20. At least everyone played hard. We are struggling at the four. We got a little tired. We had four guys play 36 minutes or more and that will have to change.”

I asked Izzo about his team. With all they have been through emotionally, the team doesn’t seem to be having fun. Something Izzo has cited in the past for success. He said, “Guys were great in the locker room, the huddles and in practice, but they are doing better. There is no excuse for that (no smiles) but we have to win the next eight. We have to shoot the ball better. I thought Cassius was getting beat up.”

The men in green won the battle of the boards 40-32 and the Spartans had 12 turnovers. The Spartans had the lead for nearly 39 of the 40 minutes in the game.

Coach Steve Pikiell said of the game, “Obviously credit Michigan State. This is a tough place to come in and play. The crowd and a well-coached basketball team. Tom Izzo is one of the best coaches in the country.”

Izzo’s cagers continued their habit of being unselfish. They had 17 assists on 24 baskets. The Spartans shot 33% from three, 44% from the field and 81% from the charity stripe.

The team will return to the hard-court Saturday, December 14, 2019 at Oakland. That game can be seen on ESPN at 12:00 PM.

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