Michigan State (17-5,5-3) is keeping their Big Ten Championship hopes alive as they pick up their second road victory in the conference and win their fourth out of their last five games.
Shannon Borown had a lot of his family and friends at the game and was able to put on quite show for them on Saturday as he reached the 1,000-point plateau in his career.
"To do it in front of his family, that was exciting," said Coach Izzo. "I thought he made a couple of clutch plays."
Michigan State did commit 17 turnovers themselves and at times did get a little rattled when Northwestern (10-10,3-6) started to press and put the pressure on the Spartans. However, a solid defensive effort led to the effort yesterday. Michigan State's defense led to fast-break opportunities.
The Spartans looked well rested after not playing in a week. The time off allowed big man Paul Davis to get healthy after getting 10 stitches removed from his head. He looked fresh and was ready for action. Davis had 16 points and 7 rebounds in his return.
Maurice Ager, who has a career average of just over 19 points a game against Northwestern, did once again, having a solid performance in scoring 21 points and collecting 11 rebounds. Ager was also able to get to the line and shot 7-9 from the stripe.
Northwestern was led by Vedran Vukusic with 23 points. Vukusic is leading the Big Ten in scoring; he was 7-12 from the field. Vukusic also got into an altercation with Spartans guard Travis Walton while going for a looose ball in the second half.
"The altercation. I was disapointed with everything that happened," said Izzo. Izzo wasn't also happy that his assistant coach got a technical when he went on the floor to prevent a situation from occurring.
"The NCAA wants you to make sure nobody's fighting and then they don't want you breaking it up," said Izzo. My assistant doesn't deserve any of the blame for that."
Michigan State opened the gap between Northwestern early in the second half when they went on a 17-3 run to go up 50-35. After tha the Spartans were able to hang on despite letting Northwestern getting the lead into single digits with less than two minutes to play in the game.
Michigan State out-rebounded the Wildcats by a 35-21 margin. They also were able to hold Northwestern to just 36 percent from the field. Paul Davis made his presence felt inside; as he recorded two blocks in the contest.