FINAL: No. 2 men's basketball obliterates Long Beach State
In front of a packed Breslin Center crowd of 14,797 on Thursday, No. 2 MSU breezed past Big West opponent Long Beach State, 102-60, to pick up its 11th straight win.
All of MSU’s starters finished in double figures, as the Spartans (12-1 overall) overpowered the 49ers (5-9) and out-rebounded them 36-25.
MSU coach Tom Izzo said he was pleased with his team's presence on the glass, along with its 28 assists on 39 baskets. What Izzo wasn't pleased with was their 12 turnovers.
The Spartans turned the ball over nine times in the first half. Izzo said, most — if not all — of those turnovers were preventable.
"We didn't do as good a job in that area as I liked us to," he said. "There's no secret about that.
"We talked about illegal picks and charges (in practice) and that was borderline ridiculous. Then the fumbling of the ball with our guards, I don't know what was going through their minds."
MSU guards Joshua Langford and Miles Bridges scored 17 points, tying for a game high. Forward Nick Ward finished with 16, while forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and guard Cassius Winston scored 13.
Jackson led MSU with nine rebounds and Winston had eight assists.
"I was very impressed with Michigan State," Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said. "Early I thought we had them a little bit disrupted defensively, but once they settled down they carved us up and pretty much got what they wanted."
Long Beach State forward Gabe Levin scored 14 and was the only 49er to reach double figures. MSU held LBSU to 40.7 percent from the floor. MSU entered the game allowing opponents to opponents to shoot 36.4 percent from beyond the arc, but the 49ers were held to 4-of-14 from 3-point land.
"They were really aggressive, especially down low," Jackson said. "And that hasn't happened a lot. Usually teams don't attack us because they don't believe in us, but this team was really aggressive."
MSU opened the game on a 10-2 run, capped off with a 3-pointer from forward Jackson. A quick 8-3 drive after MSU’s opening run, the 49ers made it 18-13 with 11:45 left in the first half. MSU strung together a 21-7 run later in the half to give them a 48-32 lead at halftime.
For the second straight game, MSU finished shooting more than 60 percent from the floor and finished shooting 60.9 percent against the 49ers. The Spartans shot 64.3 percent against Houston Baptist.
"I think we're just more confident," Bridges said. "When I injured my ankle, Cassius (Winston), Josh (Langford), McQuaid all had good games. Nick (Ward) is always confident, so I just feel like everybody has their confidence up and we're making shots."
The win marks MSU’s first back-to-back 100-point games since 2004-05, when it defeated Green Bay 101-46 on Nov. 23 and Nicholls State 102-52 on Nov. 27.
MSU is off for the next days until it welcomes Cleveland State (3-7) from the Horizon League to the Breslin next Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Though many on the team think the week off is well-needed, others think its important to stay loose.
"The break is much needed, but I think the biggest thing is to make sure we remember what the end goal is and remember the task at hand," Langford said. "Still be cognizant of what our job is, win the Big Ten outright, win the Big Ten Championship and then a National Title. Just take it one day at a time.