Spartans Demolish the Lions in Opening Big Ten Tournament Win 78-51
The #5 Michigan State Spartans improved to 19-13 today with a 78-51 blowout win over #13 Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament. In the spirit of the town the Spartans didn’t play politics with the Lions, instead they came out and took the game to them unlike the last and only time they met this season in Philadelphia.
It was a well-balanced Spartan attack that saw Michigan State play one of their best team games on both ends of the court. As usual Miles Bridges led the way for MSU with 15 points and nine rebounds. Nick Ward also had 15 and nine boards and Joshua Langford rounded out the double digit scorers by adding 13 points and five boards.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo agrees with me that this team is peaking at the right time. He said, “I think it does. Penn State had been playing pretty good too. I think (Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers) has done a heck of a job with that team. I thought with my guys tonight, we executed a little better and hit our shots. We got our break going, were pretty good defensively, so it’s a good game for us and one of the best games we’ve played this year.”
The MSU defense was ferocious holding PSU to only 29% shooting while they made 49% of their shots. MSU was once again impressive with the ball winning the battle of the boards 44-29 while they did have a disappointing 13 turnovers. They also had an amazing 16-0 edge over the Lions on fast break points.
Star freshman Miles Bridges likes where the Spartans are at, ““We’re right where we want to be. We want the guards to push it every time.” He added, “We wanted to attack (PSU forward Mike) Watkins early and get him out of the game, so that’s what we did.”
Now the Spartans will face #4 Minnesota for the third time this year. That game tips off at 2:30 PM ET. MSU has beaten them twice this season and you can watch this third matchup on ESPN.
Izzo added of facing the Gophers again, ““That was so long ago, I don’t think that has anything to do with it. We beat Wisconsin four times to win a national championship. The thing is we have to do is beat Minnesota one time, and they have been playing good. They’re the hottest team in the league. I think Richard (Pitino) has done an unbelievable job with this team. We’ll have our work cut out for us, but what a great opportunity to play in this thing and I’m happy we’re still playing.”
Miles Bridges echoed his coach about playing them again, ““They’ve got two great guards and they have a pretty good team, too, so we have our work cut out for us.”