The Spartans Defeat Eastern Michigan, 83-67

The Breslin Center had a different feel the night before Thanksgiving without Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman Sr., or fans of any kind.
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East Lansing, MI – The Breslin Center had a different feel the night before Thanksgiving without Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman Sr., or fans of any kind.

Michigan State may have returned 53.1% of its shooting, but without a two-time All-American guard and the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year, there were noticeable question marks, namely at the point guard position.

Who would take over for Winston?

Rocket Watts and team captain Foster Loyer competed before the season; associate head coach Dwayne Stephens said people would be "surprised" by the progress the junior guard made.

He wasn't kidding.

Loyer stole the show hitting six of ten shots from beyond the arc (five in the first half).

He shot confidently, albeit against subpar competition, but for a player who struggled through his first two seasons, it's a positive sign.

He didn't back down and finished with a career-high 20-points; the performance guarantees nothing moving forward, but it's a step in the right direction.

Though, Loyer isn't the only story here; Joshua Langford returned to action for the first time in two years and contributed 10-points, two rebounds, and one assist. 

Oh, and he seemed to be healthy. 

The feel-good moments continued as transfer Joey Hauser tacked on 15 of his own and nine boards while playing 23-minutes. 

Eastern Michigan kept it close at first; however, MSU went on a 13-0 run, and the Eagles didn't score for nearly five minutes, giving Michigan State just enough room to pull away at intermission.

To be fair, EMU only had eight players dressed; that doesn't do them any favors on top of playing a team pursuing its fourth Big Ten regular-season title in a row, yet MSU clearly outmatched Eastern.

The Spartans entered the locker room up 43-27, having shot 57% from the field, and drained half its shots from deep.

Not much changed in the final 20-minutes – Michigan State kept their foot on the gas, executed its gameplan, and picked apart the Eagle zone, but looked very much like a squad who played their first game under weird circumstances.

It's early, but MSU goes home having defeated EMU 83-67, meaning they are officially 1-0 on the year.

With the win, Michigan State is now 95-27 all-time in openers, including 38 of the last 43 contests.

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