EditorsNote: in headline, change Beg to Big; 4th graf, change 11 rebounds to 12 rebounds;
Junior Xavier Tillman scored 19 points and pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds to lead No. 8 Michigan State to a 74-58 victory over Minnesota at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., on Thursday as the Spartans remained unbeaten in the Big Ten.
Senior Cassius Winston took over late in the game and finished with 27 points and six assists.
Minnesota (8-7, 2-3) never let the game get out of hand thanks to the play of sophomore big man Daniel Oturu. He scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Golden Gophers, who had won four of their previous five games. Marcus Carr chipped in 11 points and Alihan Demir added 10 points.
Tillman and Oturu controlled the game in the first half as Tillman scored 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting while pulling down 12 rebounds — six on the offensive end — and handing out a pair of assists for the Spartans. Oturu scored 14 on 7-for-11 shooting and grabbed six rebounds for the Gophers.
While the big men were on point, the guard play was spotty for both teams.
Winston, Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown combined to shoot 4-for-15 in the first half for Michigan State, and the Spartans turned the ball over eight times. Carr shot just 1-for-7 for Minnesota while the Gophers managed to hold a 28-24 lead with just less than five minutes left in the half.
Michigan State (13-3, 5-0) responded with a 9-0 run to go ahead, 33-28, en route to a 36-32 lead at halftime.
The Spartans started to gain some separation early in the second half as the lead grew to 52-41 on a Brown layup in transition. However, the Gophers didn’t fold as Gabe Kalscheur hit a deep 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock to get the deficit back down to single digits.
Michigan State did a good job of holding Minnesota off, though, as Winston hit a step-back 3 with less than eight minutes to play to put the Spartans ahead 59-48. A Winston runner followed by another mid-range jumper gave the Spartans a 65-52 lead with 3:35 to play and essentially lock up the victory for Michigan State.
—Field Level Media