Michigan State cruised to its first victory of the year with an effortless 90-46 victory over Western Michigan.
The Spartans settled in and outscored Western Michigan 77 to 31 over the final 30 minutes of the game. Michigan State had eight players score five points or more and were led by senior forward Gabe Brown with 17 points.
MSU bullied its way to the rim for easy basket after easy basket all night. MSU scored 50 of its 90 points in the paint and shot 63.3% at the rim.
On the other end, Michigan State stifled Western Michigan’s offense for most of the night, holding the Broncos to a 25.4% field goal percentage. Western hit only one three-pointer in the final 32 minutes of the game and finished 5-28 behind the arc.
Even though the turnovers proved to be an issue that goes much deeper than opening night struggles, Michigan State bounced back at the free-throw line after an awful night against Kansas (9-16, 56%). The Spartans were able to take advantage of most of its trips to the line against the Broncos, shooting 18-24 as a team from the charity stripe.
The Broncos were ready for Michigan State from the opening tip. Western Michigan led MSU 15-13 eight minutes into the game thanks to its torrid start from behind the three-point line. Western started 4-9 from deep, including making three straight during a 10-2 run to take the lead.
Turnovers were a problem once again for Michigan State, especially early. The early Western Michigan lead was in large part thanks to MSU’s careless passing leading to turnovers. MSU coughed the ball up four times in the first 10 minutes which led to eight Bronco points.
Michigan State answered the run from Western with a quick 9-0 run of its own to retake the lead. The run was powered by a pair of easy baskets at the rim and trips to the free throw line from senior center Marcus Bingham Jr. and sophomore guard A.J. Hoggard to take an 18-15 lead with nine minutes left in the half.
MSU continued turning the ball over at a frenetic rate, finishing the night with 13 giveaways. The team defense stepped up considerably following Western’s quick 10-2 run. The Broncos only scored 10 points over the final 12 and a half minutes of the half after leading 15-13.
Western continued to try to live by the three-point shot in the first half after taking the lead thanks to making four of its first nine attempts. However, Western did not keep filling up the rim and missed its next 11 threes to finish the half at 4-20 shooting from deep.
Michigan State began to build its lead thanks to a balanced offensive effort led by Bingham. He had a team-high 10 points in the first half and patrolled the paint to swat or alter Western Michigan shots at the rim. Bingham ended with two blocks on the night and countless more affected by his never-ending wingspan.
Bingham continued his impactful play until being pulled from the game for good with a little under seven minutes remaining. His final stat line was 12 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks in just 16 minutes.
The second half was more easy sledding for the Spartans. After taking a 21-point lead into the locker room, the Spartans built on its lead and did not let the lead fall below 20 for the remainder of the contest.
The dominating performance continued at both ends of the court for Michigan State. Western Michigan shot 25.4% from the floor and only scored 20 points in the second half. The Spartans suffocated the dribble drive, led by the intimidating factor of Bingham’s mile-long arms. He stole two passes to go with his blocks, serving as MSU’s de-facto brick wall inside.
Western’s struggles to put the ball in the hoop also led to a massive disparity in rebounding in MSU’s favor. The Spartans out-rebounded the Broncos 58 to 28 for a +30 rebounding margin. MSU consistently pulled down Western Michigan’s missed shots and turned them into transition opportunities the other way or attacked for second and third shots.
The win moves Michigan State to 1-1 on the season. Michigan State will be on the road again on Nov. 17 to take on Butler in the Gavitt Games looking to move above .500.
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