December 29, 2018 / 9:24 PM / 8 months ago

Winston leads No. 8 Spartans' rout of NIU

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Cassius Winston scored 24 points to lead No. 8 Michigan State to an 88-60 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday at the Breslin Center.

The victory capped off Michigan State’s non-conference season as the Spartans (11-2) resume Big Ten action next week when Northwestern comes to town on Wednesday.

Winston shot 8-for-10, including matching a career high with six 3-pointers while handing out seven assists. Kenny Goins added 12 points while Nick Ward scored 11 and grabbed seven rebounds. Xavier Tillman pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.

Thirteen of the 16 Michigan State players that saw action scored.

Michigan State played the second half without junior guard Joshua Langford because of what the team said was ankle soreness. Langford struggled in the first half, shooting 1-for-8 in 12 minutes without grabbing a rebound for the first time in a game this season.

Eugene German scored 20 points for Northern Illinois (7-6) while Levi Bradley chipped in 13 for the Huskies, who are coached by former Michigan State player and assistant coach Mark Montgomery.

Winston got the Spartans off to a quick start, making his first four 3-pointers as the Spartans jumped out quickly to an eight-point lead in the first three minutes. Northern Illinois quickly trimmed it to 12-8, but the Spartans responded with a 14-2 run to take control midway through the opening half.

Eight Spartans scored in the first half, with Winston tallying 14 as they closed the half with a 10-2 run, including a mid-range jumper at the buzzer from Tillman to give Michigan State a commanding 43-19 lead at the break.

While Michigan State was shooting well from long distance, Northern Illinois missed all eight of its 3-pointers and the Huskies were just 8-for-34 overall in the first half.

The Spartans continued to pull away in the second half, pushing the lead to 29 late in the game after a 3-pointer by Matt McQuaid. Michigan State finished the game 14-for-29 (48.3 percent) from 3-point range while Northern Illinois was 6-for-15 in the second half.

—Field Level Media

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