No. 2/2 Michigan State Hosts Long Beach State on Thursday
East Lansing, Mich. -
Michigan State’s men’s basketball team plays its final game before the Christmas holiday on Thursday, Dec. 21, hosting Long Beach State at the Breslin Center. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
The game will be shown live on Big Ten Student U, with Jack Sznewais calling the play-by-play, Joe Freihofer serving as the color analyst and Olivia Rubick on the sidelines. The Spartan Sports Network radio call can be heard on one of 38 affiliates and on the web at SpartanSportsNetwork.com, with Will Tieman handling the play-by-play and Matt Steigenga serving as the color analyst. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM and Internet 83.
Michigan State, ranked No. 2 in the country by the Associated Press and in the USA Today Coaches poll, enters the game with an 11-1 overall record following a 107-62 win over Houston Baptist on Monday, the team’s 10th-straight win. The Spartans hit nearly 65 percent of their field goals and the 107 points were the fourth-highest under Head Coach Tom Izzo. It was the most points scored by an MSU team since 110 against Nebraska-Omaha in December 2011.
Sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges tied his career high with 33 points, scoring 20 in the opening half as MSU took a 54-33 lead at the break. Michigan State put four players in double figures and had 10 players score at least one point. Sophomore forward Nick Ward added 20 points, six rebounds and four blocks, while sophomore guard Joshua Langford chipped in 14 points and three assists and sophomore guard Cassius Winston finished with 10 points and a career-high 12 assists.
Freshman forward Jaren Jackson fouled out with four points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots. His six blocks were part of an MSU school record 16 rejections on the night.
Bridges leads Michigan State in scoring, and ranks fifth in the Big Ten Conference, with 16.7 points per game. He is also averaging 6.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocked shots while shooting 46.5 percent from the floor and 93.3 percent from the free throw line.
He is one of five players scoring in double figures for the Spartans. Ward is second with 14.3 points and second on the team with 6.8 rebounds. He ranks second in the Big Ten, and No. 12 nationally, connecting on 67.0 percent of his field goals. Langford is third on the team with 13.3 points, while Winston is fourth with 13.0 points and leads the team, and ranks No. 13 nationally, with 6.8 assists per game, and Jackson is averaging 10.2 points, leads the team with 7.8 rebounds and is averaging 3.33 blocked shots per game, which ranks No. 8 in the country.
Long Beach State enters Thursday night’s game with a 5-8 record following a loss at home to Eastern Michigan (85-80) on Saturday. The 49ers have lost five of their last seven games, the lone wins coming at home against Stanford (76-68) and at Pepperdine (78-71). Senior forward Gabe Levin leads the team with 15.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He is one of two players scoring in double figures, joined by junior guard Bryan Alberts, who is averaging 14.0 points per game and has hit a team-high 41 3-pointers. Alberts ranks No. 39 in the country with 3.15 shots from long distance per game. Sophomore guard Jordan Griffin is third on the team with 9.2 points per game and second on the team with 31 3-pointers made. Junior guard Deishaun Booker is fourth on the team with 8.8 points and leads the team with 5.7 assists per game.
This will be the fifth all-time meeting between Michigan State and Long Beach State. The Spartans lead the head-to-head series, 3-1. MSU is 2-0 all-time against the 49ers at home. The last meeting between the teams was a 70-60 Michigan State win on Dec. 30, 1994. Long Beach State’s lone win in the series was the first meeting, on Dec. 21, 1974, 74-62. Michigan State has played two other members of the Big West Conference, holding a 4-0 record against Cal State-Fullerton and an 0-2 mark against Hawaii.