No. 2 men's basketball destroys Minnesota on the road
It just kept coming.
It started with three straight 3-pointers from point guard Cassius Winston. Then forward Jaren Jackson Jr. knocked down two straight shots from deep.
The Spartans (25-3, 13-2 Big Ten) kept making one 3-pointer after another and hit 10 shots from deep in the first half to ease past Minnesota (14-14, 3-12) 87-57 at Williams Arena on Tuesday night.
Jackson, a standout freshman, scored a career-high 27 points to lead the Spartans to their ninth-straight win. MSU made 9-of-14 from beyond the arc, shot 53.3 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Golden Gophers 49-23.
Jackson, who was one of three Spartans to finish scoring in double figures, also added six rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Forward Nick Ward had 13 points and nine rebounds and Winston had 12 points and five assists. Forward Miles Bridges was held to five points and 1-of-7 shooting from the field.
Guard Isaiah Washington scored a team-high 18 points for Minnesota. Forward Jordan Murphy, who entered the game as the league’s best rebounder — averaging 11 rebounds and 17.4 points — was held to 16 points and seven boards. Point guard Nate Mason was Minnesota’s only other scorer in double figures, finishing with 14 points. The Golden Gophers have now lost eight straight.
The Spartans held Minnesota to 6-of-25 shooting from the floor to start the game. Minnesota, however went 3-for-5 in the final 2:27 before halftime. Ward committed six of MSU’s nine turnovers in the first half, in nine minutes.
After Minnesota cut the Spartans’ lead to 13 with a triple from Murphy and a layup from Washington to start the second half, Ward and Jackson combined to give MSU a 22-5 run starting with 14:36 to play and spanning the next eight minutes.
MSU’s largest lead came after a layup from forward Xavier Tillman with 3:04 left, giving MSU an 81-48 lead.
The win marked the best start in program history for MSU, surpassing the 2000-01 team that won a National Championship. MSU is on the road again Saturday to take on Northwestern (15-12, 6-8) at 2 p.m. The Wildcats have lost their last two.