No. 4 Michigan State Beat Rutgers in Overtime, 76-72
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State sophomore guard Joshua Langford broke a 67-all tie with a 3-pointer in overtime and classmate Cassius Winston hit six free throws in the final minute as the No. 4-ranked Spartans held on for a 76-72 overtime win against Rutgers on Wednesday night in the Breslin Center.
The Spartans improve to 16-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten Conference, while Rutgers falls to 11-7 overall and 1-4 in league play.
Sophomore forward Nick Ward led MSU with 17 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season, as five players scored in double figures. Langford scored all 12 of his points in the second half, freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. added 16 points and five rebounds, Winston had 12 points and seven assists and sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges added 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Michigan State had led by eight points with just over four minutes left in regulation, but Rutgers raced back to take a 59-58 lead with a minute left. Bridges hit a free throw with eight seconds left to tie it and 59-all and it went to overtime and a missed shot from RU's Corey Sanders.
Langford broke a 67-all tie with 58 seconds left and after a missed shot by Rutgers, Winston put MSU up by five points, 72-67, with a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left. He hit four more in the final 15 seconds to secure the win.
The Spartans led by seven points, 32-25, at the break and extended the lead to 10 points early in the second half. A conventional three-point play from Ward and a layup from Langford at 17:03 made it 37-27. Like the first half, however, Michigan State struggled from the field and Rutgers clawed back, tying the game at 39-all on a 3-pointer from Geo Baker with 9:59 left in the game.
The game was tied at 41-all when the Spartans picked up baskets from Ward and Bridges to give MSU a 45-41 lead. That triggered a 9-2 burst, capped by a 3-pointer from Langford, giving MSU a 50-43 lead. Another 3-pointer, this one from Bridges, gave MSU a 53-45 lead with 4:32 left in the game, but Rutgers again came back.
The Scarlet Knights out-scored MSU 14-5 over the next 3:32 and took a 59-58 lead on a jumper from Corey Sanders with one minute left to play. The Spartans tied the game at 59-all on one of two free throws from Bridges and a shot from RU's Sanders was off the mark at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
The Spartans jumped out to a 9-0 lead and Rutgers called a timeout after a layup from Ward just over three minutes into the game. A 3-pointer from junior guard Matt McQuaid gave the Spartans a 14-2 lead and Rutgers hit only one field goal in the opening 5:41.
The lead was 10 points, 18-8, following a free throw from Ward, but the Spartans would hit only one field goal over a nine-minute span and the lead was trimmed to three points, 22-19, on a layup from Eugene Omoruyi with 4:20 to play in the half.
A jumper from Rutgers' Mike Williams made it 26-23 with 1:51 left before the break, but the Spartans scored six points in the final - including a 3-pointer from Tum Tum Nairn Jr. - and the MSU went into the half with a 32-25 lead.
Michigan State plays the second of three-straight games at home on Saturday, Jan. 13, hosting Michigan. The game will be shown live on FOX, with Gus Johnson calling the play-by-play and Jim Jackson serving as the color analyst.