FINAL: Men's basketball scores a season-high in rout of Cleveland State
The No. 2 Spartans keep rolling as they won their 12th straight game Friday night at the Breslin Center, cruising past Cleveland State, 111-61.
Sophomore guard Joshua Langford led the team in scoring with 23 points and forward Nick Ward wasn’t too far behind with 22 of his own. MSU shot 65 percent overall and 58 percent from 3-point territory. Conversely, Cleveland State shot a horrid 33 percent on field goals and 30 percent from three.
Head coach Tom Izzo said after the game that he wanted to see the team play well in four areas: shooting, defense, turnovers, and rebounding.
"We moved it and shot it well, didn't turn it over we had three turnovers, defense with Nick Ward and Jaren (Jackson Jr.) stepping up on those ball screens was phenomenal, and we rebounded it pretty well," Izzo said.
The outcome of the game was a direct result of how it began. The Spartans started out hot and the Vikings started cold. Really cold.
Cleveland State connected on just one of its first 13 attempts, while MSU began the game going a perfect seven for seven.
By the first media timeout at the 16-minute mark all of the starters for MSU -- Miles Bridges, Langford, Ward, Cassius Winston and Jaren Jackson Jr. -- had scored and leading the Vikings, 15-4. By the second media timeout, the Spartans’ lead grew to 19 and the score changed to 25-6.
MSU seized control of the first half from start to finish. Cleveland State did try to make a run late in the half as they hit four consecutive three-pointers, but even after that spurt their deficit still remained at 23 points.
Langford stopped the Vikings’ run with a smooth pull-up jumper following a behind the back dribble move. MSU took a 38 point lead into the intermission.
MSU was seven points shy of scoring 70 points in the first half. High scoring affairs have been a common theme for the team recently as they have now eclipsed the century mark in their last three contests.
"I just feel like we're just clicking on all cylinders right now," Langford said after the game. "I feel like everybody is trying to buy into their jobs and what they're supposed to do on the team."
The second half, just like the first, was dominated from beginning to end by the Spartans. The squad’s largest lead in the half was 57 and they limited Cleveland State to just 34 percent shooting overall from the field.
The game was the Spartans first in eight days because of Christmas, but the long lay off obviously had no effect on their play as MSU put up a season-high 111 points.
"We came back a little winded," Bridges said. "The first practice (Izzo) really conditioned us a little bit to get us back into game form. So I feel like we're good now."
The team will rest up for a day before they welcome Savannah State at the Breslin on New Year’s Eve. Tipoff is set for noon EST.