Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team tops Northwestern 79-50 to move back atop Big 10
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — Cassius Winston was sluggish and looked out of sorts, turning the ball over more than he was making shots.
The senior star turned it around in the second half and finished with 18 points to lead No. 14 Michigan State in a 79-50 win over Northwestern on Wednesday night.
In the end, though, Winston had at least five turnovers for the third time in five games to overshadow his scoring.
“Cassius has to play better,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. “There’s nothing wrong with missing shots, but some of those turnovers are not like him.”
Winston was 2 of 7 in the first half and finished 6 of 12, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers.
“We had a slow start because we couldn’t get shots to fall,” Winston said after visiting with family in the stands and posing for pictures with fans on the court. “When that happens, it looks slow out there. We did a good job on defense and that led to us getting our offense going.”
The Spartans (16-5, 8-2 Big Ten) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference. The lead may last only a day because No. 19 Illinois has a chance to pull into a tie tonight at home vs. Minnesota.
Michigan State had balance on offense the entire game and outscored its overmatched opponents 46-28 in the second half. The Spartans had a 44-27 edge on the boards, giving them 14 second-chance points.
Xavier Tillman had 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks for the Spartans. Teammate Foster Loyer scored 12 points and matched a career high with four 3-pointers.
Five other Spartans scored at least six points.
Pat Spencer scored 11 points for the last-place Wildcats (6-14, 1-9).