DETROIT, Michigan — Sophomore guard Cassius Winston nailed two 3-pointers to spark a late second half run that propelled No. 2 Michigan State to a 86-73 victory over Oakland for a college basketball doubleheader Saturday at the Hitachi College Basketball Showcase in Detroit, Michigan. The crowd of 20,645 is the largest crowd in Little Caesars Arena’s brief history!
Winston who came up big in the second half, finished with 19 points (all in second half) after only attempting two shots in the first half. The Detroit native went 6-of-9, including three 3-pointers, to go along with six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Joshua Langford scored 17 and sophomore forward Nick Ward contributed 15 points and 15 rebounds. Miles Bridges had 11 while Jaren Jackson Jr. added 10. Redshirt junior forward Kenny Goins added energy from the bench chipping in four points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Spartans shot 51.7 percent as a team from the field, outrebounding the Grizzlies 45-30. They hit 39.1 percent of its 3-pointers (9-of-23) and 65.2 percent of its free throws (15-of-23).
Michigan State returns home for its next five games, starting on Monday, Dec. 18, hosting Houston Baptist at the Breslin Center. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m.
“We got beat by the best team in the country, with the best coach in the country, today,” said Oakland Grizzlies Head Coach Greg Kampe. There’s no question about that.”
In its first ever game at Little Caesars Arena, Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans marched into halftime with a 38-33 Spartans lead of a relatively close ballgame. Oakland bounced back with a 20-10 run to take a 55-52 lead with 14:56 to play.
However, the Spartans Cassius Winston would be too much as he poured in 15 of his 19 points in the final 3:45 of the game, including nine straight at one point.
Kendrick Nunn led Oakland with 32 points and 7 assists.
It was the ninth-straight win for the Spartans, who improve to 10-1 overall, while Oakland falls to 6-5 overall.
NCAA TOURNAMENT COMING TO LITTLE CAESARS ARENA
Little Caesars Arena will play host of the first two rounds of this season’s NCAA Tournament during March Madness.
“This is so cool for Detroit,” Izzo said. “It’s just starting to feel like a city that’s coming back to life, and if we can be a little part of it today and we can be a big part of it in March, no one will be more excited about it than me.”
Reported by Adrian Mitchell for Woodlawn Post