No. 2 Michigan State crushes Long Beach State
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Miles Bridges emerged as Michigan State’s main scorer as a freshman last season.
Bridges is still the team’s go-to player, but the Spartans’ entire lineup poses a threat this season. The starting five all scored between 13 and 17 points as No. 2 Michigan State extended its winning streak to 11 games with a 102-60 thumping of Long Beach State on Thursday night at the Breslin Center.
Bridges and Joshua Langford led a balanced attack with 17 points apiece. Bridges is averaging 16.8 points this season, just 0.1 less than he did during his stellar freshman campaign.
“Miles is averaging the same points as he did last year but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it because we’ve got five guys in double figures instead of one,” coach Tom Izzo said.
Bridges also led Michigan State with nine rebounds. Nick Ward supplied 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks, and freshman Jaren Jackson contributed 13 points, six rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals for the Spartans (12-1).
Cassius Winston had 13 points and eight assists as Michigan State shot 60.9 percent from the field and made a season-high 13 3-pointers on 29 attempts. The Spartans reached the 100-point mark in back-to-back games for the first time since 2004.
“A lot of people are getting touches, a lot of people are getting shots up,” Winston said. “It’s a fun way to play basketball.”
Izzo is glad the fun will be put on hold for a few days. He plans to give the team time off until the day after Christmas.
“Even though we had two games where we scored 100, I think it’s really good that we get a break,” Izzo said. “I think we need one mentally and physically. Even the coaches need one.”
Gabe Levin’s 14 points led the 49ers (5-9), who were playing their highest-rated opponent since they lost to No. 2 Texas in December 2009. Levin, who passed the 1,000-point mark last weekend, made only 7 of 19 shots from the field.
The 49ers were held to 40.7 percent shooting by the nation’s leader in field-goal percentage defense.
“It doesn’t matter if I’ve got a Gonzaga team or a Minnesota team or a Long Beach State team now,” 49ers coach Dan Monson said. “This is a tough place to play and a tough place to win and they proved that today.”
Long Beach State junior guard Bryan Alberts, the team’s second-leading scorer at 14 points per game, missed his first game this season. The Gonzaga transfer underwent minor knee surgery Thursday and did not make the trip.
“We’re optimistic we can get him back in the next 10 days or so,” Monson said. “We just didn’t want to fight it all year.”
Ward posted 12 first-half points as Michigan State led 48-32 at halftime.
The Spartans shot 63 percent from the field in the opening half and gradually built their lead.
Ward’s uncontested dunk two minutes into the second half pushed the advantage past 20 points. Langford’s 3-pointer with 9:35 left upped the Spartans’ lead to 76-45.
“Once they settled down, they carved us up and pretty much got what they wanted,” Monson said.
NOTES: Long Beach State has lost 22 consecutive games to ranked opponents. Its last victory was December 2011 over No. 14 Xavier. ... The teams had not played since 1994. The Spartans lead the all-time series 4-1. ... The 49ers are 1-9 when trailing at halftime. ... Michigan State has used only two lineups this season. ... The Spartans don’t play again until they host Cleveland State on Dec. 29.