Bridges injured as Michigan State beats Stony Brook
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The sight of star forward Miles Bridges limping back to the locker room gave No. 2 Michigan State a big scare on Sunday.
Fortunately, the injury doesn’t appear serious.
Bridges scored 20 points before sustaining a left ankle sprain in the Spartans’ 93-71 victory over Stony Brook on Sunday at Breslin Center.
Bridges, a preseason contender for National Player of the Year, sustained the injury with 8:32 remaining while driving to the basket and his team leading 71-56. Bridges, who was fouled by Akwasi Yeboah on the play, hobbled to the bench under his own power. He sat briefly, then went to the foul line but did not shoot the free throws before heading back to the locker room.
Coach Tom Izzo said the injury was not a high ankle sprain and called Bridges day-to-day.
“With all he did for us and what he means to this team, to see him go down, that takes the breath out of the whole environment,” Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston said. “We care for him so much. We saw him get back up, hobble his way back up. It’s good news that he’ll get back out there and be all right.”
Bridges missed seven games last season when he sprained the same ankle.
The Spartans (2-1), coming off an 88-81 loss to No. 1 Duke, got major contributions from three other sophomores. Forward Nick Ward had 22 points and 11 rebounds, guard Joshua Langford had 19 points and five assists, and Winston contributed 13 points and six assists. Heralded freshman center Jaren Jackson went scoreless before fouling out in 13 minutes of action.
Izzo wasn’t impressed with Ward’s overall performance.
“Fans, media, they all think that 20 points is great. It’s not,” he said. “Last year, he scored a lot of points and we won 20 games. Around here, that’s not good enough. There are some assignments that he missed, and I‘m upset about it. If he plays any kind of defense and gets 20 points and 10 rebounds, now we’ve got ourselves a hell of a player.”
Izzo had a better feeling about Langford.
“Joshua Langford was the best player on the court, as far as a guy who did things on both ends,” he said.
Michigan State shot 57.9 percent (33-for-57) from the field. Stony Brook finished at 40.7 percent (24-for-59).
Elijah Olaniyi led the Seawolves (0-4) with 16 points, and Yeboah had 15 points before fouling out. Stony Brook made 13 of 26 3-point attempts.
“The biggest positive was coming out and competing for 40 minutes,” Stony Brook coach Jeff Boals said. “I was really happy with our guys. They followed the game plan. We did get a little tired in the second half, but we kept on fighting, kept on chipping away.”
The Seawolves used an 11-2 run to take their biggest lead, 25-17, midway through the first half. Olaniyi made a pair of 3-pointers during that sequence.
Michigan State responded with a 19-6 run, capped by two Winston 3-pointers, to take a 40-34 lead.
The Spartans led 44-38 at halftime and took their first double-digit lead on a layup by Bridges. Ward recorded back-to-back dunks to make it 68-53, and Stony Brook never threatened again.
“We’re normally a deep team,” Boals said. “We had eight keys going into the game. The first four were transition defense. The last four were boxing out and rebounding. It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ when you’re playing Michigan State. You can’t afford to not do that against a team like this. That’s a high-powered offense.”
NOTES: Spartans coach Tom Izzo is 62-0 all-time at home in the month of November. ... Stony Brook has made at least nine 3-pointers in every game this season. ... The Seawolves have not defeated a Big Ten team since 2006, when they downed Penn State 59-51. ... This was the first ever meeting between the schools. ... Spartans junior F Kenny Goins was sidelined due to a knee injury.