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Ward and Bridges Help No. 2 Michigan State Beat Savannah St

Dec. 31, 2017

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EAST LANSING, Mich.Michigan State made a late run to break open a close game in the first half and then exploded for 57 points in the second half en route to a 108-52 win over Savannah State on Sunday at the Breslin Center.

It was the fourth-straight game Michigan State has scored at least 100 points, the first time an MSU team has accomplished that feat in program history.

Michigan State, ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press and USA Today Top 25 Coaches polls, improved to 14-1 overall with its 13th-straight win. It is the longest win streak for the Spartans since opening the 2015-16 season with 13-straight wins.

Sophomore guard Miles Bridges scored 19 points and had 21 rebounds, the most by a Michigan State player since Greg Kelser had 27 in 1976.

Bridges led six players in double figures, as sophomore forward Nick Ward had his second-straight double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Cassius Winston scored 16 points and handed out a career-high 13 assists, while junior guard Matt McQuaid added 14 points off the bench, sophomore guard Joshua Langford had 11 points and four rebounds and freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. chipped in 10 points.

Michigan State connected on 62.9 percent of its shots from the floor (44-of-70), including 62.2 percent during the second half, when the Spartans out-scored the Tigers, 57-14. The Tigers had kept things close in the first half, thanks to eight 3-pointers, but the MSU defense limited Savannah State to 15.6 percent shooting in the second half, including only 9.5 percent from 3-point land.

MSU led by 13 points (51-38) at the break and were still up by 13 points, 58-45, early in the second half after a layup from SSU's Zach Sellers. Over the final 15:52 of the game, MSU out-scored Savannah State, 50-7, including holding the Tigers scoreless over the final 8:58 of the game.

The Spartans jumped out to a quick lead on Savannah State in the opening minutes, scoring the first seven points of the game and holding the Tigers scoreless for the first 4:47. MSU led by eight points, 16-8, after a 3-pointer from McQuaid with 13:01 to play in the half.

Savannah State, who attempts 40 3-pointers per game, went to the long ball and hit three-straight 3-pointers, including a pair by Sellers, to pull within 18-17. Another trifecta, this one from John Grant, gave Savannah State a 20-18 lead and capped a 12-2 run.

MSU tied the game at 20-all and took a 29-23 lead on a layup from freshman forward Xavier Tillman, but SSU again narrowed the gap, pulling to within one point on three different occasions, the last with 4:02 before the break on a layup from Jahir Cabeza, making it 37-36. The Green & White out-scored Savannah State, 14-2, over the final minutes of the first half to take a 51-38 lead.

Michigan State returns back to Big Ten Conference play next week, hosting Maryland on Thursday, Jan. 4 at the Breslin Center. The game will be shown live on FS1, with Gus Johnson calling the play-by-play and Bill Raftery serving as the color analyst.

 

 

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