FINAL: Turnover bug sweeps through Ann Arbor, MSU blown-out by U-M 86-57
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After a 70-62 win over U-M just nine days ago, MSU men's basketball (14-10, 6-5 Big Ten) was blown-out by 29 points to U-M (15-9 overall, 5-6 Big Ten). The 86-57 game splits this year's two-game season series between the rivals.
Freshman guard Cassius Winston was struck with a severe case of the turnover bug in the first half. Coughing up the ball with mild double teams, Winston had five first half turnovers, more than double his game average of 2.3 turnovers. His teammates provided little remedy, adding seven more turnovers in the first half alone. These comprised of four shot clock violations and sloppy ball handling. On one occasion, freshman guard Joshua Langford took two steps past half-court and was stripped, leading to an easy layup by Moritz "Moe" Wagner.
On the entire game, MSU gave away possession 21 times, leading to 30 points off those turnovers. Winston was responsible for six of those turnovers and scored just three points.
At the end of the first half, the blow-out was in full swing. U-M led MSU 55-29, three Wolverines in double-digit scoring. As a team, U-M was 21-for-28 from the floor, 8-for-11 from beyond the arc. MSU trailed at a reasonable distance for much of the first half. With a high field-goal percentage of 59 percent from the floor, the Spartans hovered within striking distance until U-M made five straight buckets on an 8-0 run to end the first half.
In the second half, MSU failed to gain any traction.
Head coach Tom Izzo has repeated the importance of fifth-year senior guard Eron Harris to step up and score alongside of freshman forward Miles Bridges. After 10 first half points, Harris showed a different tempo to his game — attacking the bucket. Always seen taking jump shots, Harris took two drives to the hole for contact layups. He would end the night shooting 4-for-4 from the floor and scored 10 points.
Freshman forward Nick Ward was back in the starting lineup after playing a supporting role against Nebraska — Ward has been dealing with the flu over the past few weeks. After a dead-ball whistle, Ward placed a shoulder into U-M's Wagner, forcing a technical foul for Ward. Ward continued to give it the old college try, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Bridges played average for his standard, scoring 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting. His highlight right-handed alley-oop dunk was overshadowed by the overbearing deficit.
MSU will return to the Breslin Center on Saturday to play the University of Iowa (14-10, 6-5 Big Ten). The game will tipoff at 6 p.m. and will be televised on Big Ten Network.
Leaders for MSU:
Points - Bridges (15)
Rebounds- Ward (7)
Assists- Winston (4)
Leaders for U-M:
Points- Walton Jr. (20)
Rebounds- Wagner (6)
Assists- Walton (8)