MSU holds on to beat Notre Dame in ACC-Big Ten Challenge
MSU picked up its second marquee win of the season, defeating No. 5 Notre Dame as a part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge Thursday night at the Breslin Center 81-63 to improve to 5-1 on the season. MSU shot over 50 percent in both halves.
The win is the Spartans' second victory over an AP top-25 team. They beat then-No. 9 ranked North Carolina last Sunday in the PK80 final, holding the Tar Heels to their lowest field goal percentage in program history at just 24.6 percent.
MSU was just the third Big Ten team to record a win in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge along with Purdue and Nebraska
"We did a lot better than the North Carolina game as far as taking some things away," head coach Tom Izzo said after the game. "We were trying to get our defense going, rebound the ball, and run."
Guard Joshua Langford led the Spartans in scoring in the first half with 12 and finished tied for a game-high 17 points for MSU, along with point guard Cassius Winston. The backcourt duo scored efficiently, going a combined 13 of 23 from the floor.
MSU came out the gate hot, going up 9-2 early off a Miles Bridges dunk. The team went on a 17-3 run early in the half, a run that featured three consecutive pull-up jump shots by Langford.
The Spartans saw their lead expand to as large as 24-8 during that span before Notre Dame guard TJ Gibbs knocked down a three to halt the run.
The Spartan's frontcourt got into the scoring action as well as forwards Ben Carter, Xavier Tillman and Gavin Schilling all made consecutive baskets to push the lead to 21 towards the end of the half. MSU went into intermission with a 20 point lead, and led by as many as 22 points in the half.
Notre Dame came out of the intermission firing. Guard Matt Farrell scored a driving layup to cap off a 9-0 run by the Irish to trim the Spartans' lead down to eight.
Forward Miles Bridges, who finished with 14 points on 6-15 shooting, stopped the run with a driving layup from the baseline.
Notre Dame was resilient in the second half, cutting the deficit down to as low as seven at one point, but the Spartans went on another run highlighted by a Bridges Dunk to push their lead back up to double digits and ultimately shutting the door on the Irish.
"Our confidence is at an all-time high. We don't want to have any let-downs in the future and we're not going to be complacent," Bridges said after the game.
Well-balanced scoring: Four of the starters for the Spartans (Langford, Bridges, Ward, and Winston) finished in double digits in points.
Forward Jaren Jackson, who was burdened with foul trouble, was the only starter to not score in double digits as he finished with just five points on two of five shooting.
MSU had the edge over the Irish in bench points as Matt McQuaid, Carter, Tillman, and Schilling all tallied the score column off the bench. Notre Dame only had two points from their reserves.
Offensive Efficiency: The Spartans had only 12 turnovers, a significant improvement from their 24-trunover performance against North Carolina in the PK80.
MSU also had 21 assists, led by Winston who had seven helpers. The Spartans' efficient night was highlighted by them shooting 51 percent from the field and 43 percent from three.
The team will now prep for conference play as they host Nebraska on Sunday at the Breslin Center. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. ET.