No. 2 Michigan State demolishes Cleveland State
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The holiday break did nothing to stop Michigan State’s momentum. In fact, the time off made the No. 2-ranked Spartans even more fearsome.
Joshua Langford tied his career high with 23 points and No. 2 Michigan State collected its 12th consecutive victory by crushing Cleveland State 111-61 on Friday at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans exceeded the 100-point mark for the third consecutive game, the first time they’ve done that since the first three games of the 2004-05 season. They had 107 points against Houston Baptist and 102 points against Long Beach State in their previous two outings.
Michigan State was playing its first game since Dec. 21.
“I feel it helped us clear our mind,” sophomore forward Miles Bridges said. “Once we came back from our break, Coach (Tom Izzo) really got on us in practice about getting back to our normal selves. I give a lot of credit to Coach and my teammates for staying focused on the task at hand.”
Langford, a sophomore guard, shot 9-for-12 from the field and 4-for-5 on 3-point tries. He also scored 23 against North Carolina earlier this season.
Center Nick Ward piled up 22 points and 14 rebounds and Bridges posted 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Spartans (13-1).
. Freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. contributed 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks, while Cassius Winston added 11 points and four assists. Reserve guard Matt McQuaid also tossed in 11 points for Michigan State, which has won by double-digit margins in all of its victories.
The Spartans shot a season-high 65.1 percent from the field (41 of 63) while holding the Vikings to 32.8 percent shooting (19 of 58). Their 63-point first half was the highest since Izzo became head coach in 1995.
“I’m pleased that we didn’t take the day off,” Izzo said. “That’s the sign of a team maturing a little bit. I’m hoping that leads to more things here down the road.”
Even for Izzo, who typically finds many faults in every outing, the first half was impressive.
“The things we wanted to get better at, we did a hell of a job in the first half,” he said. “We moved it and shot well, didn’t turn it over, the defense with Nick Ward and Jaren stepping up on those ball screens was phenomenal, and we rebounded it pretty well.”
Senior guard Bobby Word scored a career-high 26 points for Cleveland State (3-10), which has dropped four straight. Word’s previous best was 25 points against Western Michigan last season. Anthony Wright added 14 points for the Vikings.
“We knew this was going to be a very, very tough challenge,” Cleveland State coach Dennis Felton said. “I’m not sure I expected them to shoot the ball quite as well as they did. It just added on to that challenge.”
Felton wants to pattern his program in the mold of Michigan State.
“They’re the best team in the land right now,” he said. “I could go on and on but it’s hard to find any weaknesses there. If we didn’t go zone, they might have scored 200 points tonight.”
Michigan State led 63-25 at the break.
NOTES: The teams had not faced each other since Dec. 16, 2005. The Spartans have won all nine meetings. ... Cleveland State has an 0-8 road record. ... Vikings assistant coach Bryan Tibaldi was a walk-on for the Spartans from 2005-07. ... Cleveland State begins its Horizon League schedule against Youngstown State on New Year’s Day, while Michigan State closes out in non-conference slate against Savannah State on Sunday.