No. 16 Michigan State (7-3) rolled past Oakland (5-6) 72-49 at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday. After nearly three minutes of gameplay, MSU found points first, as sophomore forward Gabe Brown hit a pair of free throws.
Sophomore forward Aaron Henry led the way with 10 points and six assists on 2-of-5 from three. It was a bad day all around from beyond the arc, as MSU and Oakland made just 14 threes combined. The Spartans shot 7-for-33 (21%) while senior guard Cassius Winston endured his own shooting woes, making 1-on-9 from three and shooting 3-of-13 from the field.
"We took 33 threes, which is a joke, but they were mostly because the way Greg (Kampe) decided to guard us and it was probably right in some ways," Izzo said postgame. "I've never in my entire time knowing Cassius Winston seen him miss that many open threes that he was just short on. But what I loved about Cassius today, he was a little better defensively and I loved the fact in huddles and that he just accepted it and was fired up for other guys ..."
And despite the Golden Grizzlies outrebounding MSU shortly past those stagnant first few minutes, and outshooting MSU from three (32% on 7-of-22) the Spartans ended the first half on a 30-13 run.
Brown ignited the Little Caesars Arena as sophomore forward Thomas Kithier spiked a loose ball to junior forward Xavier Tillman, who in turn lobbed it to the sprawling Brown for the dunk.
Brown followed this up on the ensuing possession, finishing through contact for a three-point play to finish off a 15-3 run for MSU. Brown finished with nine points despite shooting 0-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Kithier was perfect from the field, scoring eight points on four attempts and nabbing six rebounds.
"I'm not as worried about Cassius and Xavier. I had been more worried about Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown a little bit of (about) our other fours," Izzo said. "And I guess in that respect we've made some progress."
The Spartans started the second half on a similar tear, outscoring the Golden Grizzlies 10-0 to start the latter period.
Michigan State will travel to Northwestern (4-4) to continue Big Ten play at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18 in Evanston, Illinois.