Thursday, September 24, 2020

FINAL: Michigan State men’s basketball defeats Big Ten leader Maryland, 78-66

February 29, 2020
<p>Junior forward Xavier Tillman (right) is defended by Maryland’s Donta Scott (left). The Spartans fell to the Terrapins, 60-67, at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 15, 2020. </p>

Junior forward Xavier Tillman (right) is defended by Maryland’s Donta Scott (left). The Spartans fell to the Terrapins, 60-67, at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 15, 2020.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

With four players scoring in the double-digits Saturday night, No. 24 Michigan State shut down the Big Ten leader, No. 9 Maryland 78-66 in College Park, Maryland.

The Spartans came out strong to claim an early 9-0 lead that quieted Maryland’s ESPN College GameDay crowd from the start.

Freshman forward Malik Hall saw himself in the starting lineup for the seventh time this season. The Aurora, Illinois native made two straight to start his game before finishing the night shooting a perfect 5-for-5, putting up 16 points and taking six rebounds.

Maryland crept up from behind midway through the first half and eventually tied it up at 23 with 10:04 remaining. 

But senior guard Cassius Winston, who put up a team-high 20 points, answered. The Detroit native sunk five straight to reclaim the lead in the Spartans' favor.

Winston shot 6-for-12 on the night, including a Hail Mary shot from beyond half court at the halftime buzzer to give the Spartans a 40-29 lead going into the locker room.

MSU claimed an 11-point lead in the second half before an 8-0 run by Maryland brought the game back within single digits.

This time it was freshman forward Rocket Watts who quieted the Terrapins run with a near perfect three from the corner. The corner proved to be Watts' hot spot, as he went 3-for-9 from the three to put up 13 points.

Defensively, MSU dominated the boards, holding a 35-29 advantage over the Terrapins. Once again, junior forward Xavier Tillman led the Spartans, recording a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Spartans 10 offensive grabs led to 19 second chance points and 10 points off of rebounds in one of their stronger offensive performances of the season.

MSU almost entirely shut down Maryland’s senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. as well. Cowan hit the dagger to defeat MSU in the last meeting of the two teams on Feb. 15, however on Saturday, Cowan, who was guarded by Watts most of the game was quieted to just 13 points and three assists.

Sophomore forward Aaron Henry played a physical game himself, putting up nine points while snatching a block and a steal.

The Spartans continue their road trip by traveling to Penn State on Tuesday.

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