FINAL: Men's hoops destroys Houston Baptist as Miles Bridges scores 33
Turnovers hindered No. 2 MSU in the early stages against Houston Baptist on Monday evening, but the Spartans would prevail for their tenth straight win and highest point total of the season to dominate the Huskies, 107-62 at the Breslin Center.
Guard Miles Bridges was one of four Spartans (11-1 overall) to score double figures and led all scorers with 33 points matching a career-high set against Purdue last season. Bridges shot 11-of-14 from the field with four 3-pointers, and went 7-of-7 from the line.
The Huskies (4-8) have now dropped three of their last four games.
Forward Nick Ward finished behind Bridges with 20 points and guard Joshua Langford scored 14 points. Point guard Cassius Winston with 10 points and a career-high 12 assists.
Houston Baptist’s Jalon Gates led his team with three 3-pointers and 17 points. Braxton Bonds was the only other Husky player to score double-figures, and finished with 10. MSU’s nation-leading 2-point defense held Houston Baptist to 28.4 percent from the floor. The Huskies converted on 4-of-19 shots from beyond the arc.
"I thought our guys really competed," Houston Baptist coach Ron Cottrell said. "Obviously shots weren’t going in for us particularly early on, but I think Michigan State had a whole lot to do with that. It made it a little tougher to run what we want to run, in the space that we do because they push you a little bit further out on the floor. Make those shots a little bit tougher."
The Spartans turned the ball over four times in the first 2:10 of play and committed eight turnovers in the first half. Forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who fouled out with 7:02 to play, turned it over five times despite six blocks. Winston accounted for four blocks, as MSU finished with 14, a program record.
MSU coach Tom Izzo wasn't happy with the number of turnovers from his team.
"I think we lead the world – Italian basketball, Spanish basketball, Russian basketball, Chinese basketball, French basketball, and American basketball – I think we lead the world in unforced turnovers," he said. "We come down, throw the ball up – first play of the game – right into a guy’s arms. And those things are just, you know, they’re not something we can take lightly anymore because they’re happening on a regular basis, that’s the way we started out in the Oakland game."
MSU, however, quickly found their stride with a 13-2 run spanning the first six minutes of play to make it 13-4.
Houston Baptist was unable to ever cut its deficit after MSU took the lead and trailed the Spartans by 21 points at halftime. At the half Bridges already had 20 points, while Ward and Langford each had 10 as MSU converted on 70 percent of its shots from the field.
The Spartans opened the second half on a 15-4 run to take a 69-37 lead. MSU strung together a 17-4 run to make it 85-47 capped of by a 3-pointer from Winston with 8:23 left to play. MSU finished the game on a 15-1 run with scores from forward Xavier Tillman and wing Matt McQuaid.
Izzo said he was displeased the way his team rebounded defensively. Houston Baptist earned 24 of its 39 boards on the offensive glass and outscored MSU 22-10 in second chance opportunities.
"I was never prouder of a team than I was of their team," Izzo said. "They were over-matched, under-sized…for a team like that to get 24 offensive rebounds and just absolutely embarrass us, you know it was a shame."
MSU will stay at the Breslin for the remainder of the month and welcome Long Beach State (5-8) on Thursday. That game tips off at 7 p.m.