After a back-and-forth contest against Kansas, on Nov. 6, ending in a 92-87 loss, Michigan State has bounced back in dominating fashion. The Spartans have won their last three games by an average of 37.7 points, including a 101-33 win against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 18.
Cassius finds his footing
After a slight struggle against Kansas’ Devon Dotson, Cassius Winston turned back into himself and continued to look like a top guard in the Big Ten. After opening night, Winston is averaging 18.6 points a game on 48 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point land. Pair this scoring efficiency with his ability to find his teammates (7 assists per game) and he has been what all fans thought he was capable of.
A playmaker who can help lead this team to the top of the Big Ten.
Winston has not just been a box score stuffer, he helped rally the troops after Nick Ward’s scary fall against UL Monroe, practically pushing them into the win column.
After struggling in the first half, Winston came out of halftime like a bat of hell.
Within the first couple minutes, he scored 14 points on crafty drives and 3-point jumpers. Winston finished 7-for-13 from the field, 3-for-5 from deep in the second half.
The Spartans need more performances like this their junior lead guard.
Just a bump in the Ward
Two scary falls. Two 20-point games. Two weeks.
The opening to the 2018 NCAA basketball season has been up-and-down for one Nick Ward.
Much like his buddy Winston, Ward did not play his best game against Kansas, but in Ward’s case, it was much worse.
He was limited 25 minutes, thanks to foul trouble, turned the ball over five times, missed five free throws and only scored nine points. He also had a bad fall on his back that kept him out for a few minutes against Kansas. Among the laundry list of struggles for the big man against the Jayhawks, he bounced back tremendously.
Drawing double teams all night against Florida Gulf Coast, Ward balled out. A 25-point, 10-rebound double-double, as well as finishing 7-for-11 from the field, 11-for-17 at the free throw line.
And then another injury within the first four minutes of the UL Monroe, which kept him out of the game.
Ward, again, bounced back.
This time to the tune of 23 points in 23 minutes and started the game 4-for-4 from the field. Ward’s performance set the tone for the Spartans, who won 101-33 against Tennessee Tech. 33 points is the lowest score a Big Ten team has held their opponent to this season and the 68-point margin of victory ties the Spartans school record from 1992.
Heading into the the Nov. 22 contest against UCLA in Las Vegas, the Spartans will continue to lean on Ward and Winston, as well as Joshua Langford, to have success against the Bruins and the rest of the competition.
Luckily for fans of the Spartans, they both seem to be in quite a groove heading into the Las Vegas Invitational.
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