FINAL: No. 1 men's basketball cruises past Maryland, 91-61
The No. 1 men’s basketball beat the Maryland Terrapins, 91-61, Thursday night at the Breslin Center. It was the Spartans third matchup against a Big Ten opponent and the team’s first since a Dec. 5 meeting with Rutgers.
MSU shot 57 percent from both the floor and from beyond the arc. The team made a season-high 16 3-point field goals.
“Both teams made a lot of shots,” head coach Tom Izzo said in his postgame press conference. “We got our running game going and we got some wide open threes."
The game was tightly contested for much of the first half and the lead swapped back and forth between the two teams, until MSU closed out the half on a 15-3 run.
The first half saw unsuspecting players contribute on the offensive end for MSU. Redshirt junior forward Kenny Goins made his first career 3-pointer and hit another one just a few minutes later to help the Spartans pull even with the Terrapins at 20 points a piece about midway through the first half.
“It wasn’t on our scouting report that he could shoot threes, that’s for darn sure,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said after the game.
The momentum of the game shifted, however, when freshman forward Xavier Tillman entered the ball game off of the bench. In the five minutes the Grand Rapids native played in the first half, he scored five points on shooting 2-of-2 from the floor and pulled down three rebounds.
MSU took a 12-point advantage into the break and never looked back from that point on.
The Spartans improve to 15-1 (3-0 in Big Ten play) with the win, and have now won 14 consecutive games. Sophomore forward Nick Ward led all scorers for MSU with 16 on an efficient 6-8 shooting from the floor.
“They were terrific.” Turgeon said. “They shot it well and executed it well.”
The team will rest up for a couple days before traveling to Columbus, Ohio on Sunday to play Ohio State. The Buckeyes are currently tied with the Spartans for first place in the Big Ten. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. EST.