Spartans Welcome Wildcats to the Breslin

The No. 9 Michigan State Spartans (20-4, 9-2) are preparing to host the Northwestern Wildcats (12-12, 5-6) at the Breslin Center Thursday night.

Michigan State comes into this game after suffering a tough loss to No. 21 Wisconsin 60-58 on the road.

The top performer in the game was senior Adreian Payne who played in his second game since missing seven games due to a foot injury. Payne had 24 points and four rebounds against the Badgers.

The Spartans struggled without their senior leader Keith Appling who is currently out with a wrist injury. Star sophomore guard Gary Harris was 3-20 on field goal attempts and 0-7 from the three-point line.

Michigan State as a team shot 40 percent from field goal range, 26 percent from behind the arc and 56 percent from the free throw line.

Keith Appling is not expected to play in the match up against the Wildcats.

Northwestern enters this game with two previous wins against Minnesota and Wisconsin, but most recently the Wildcats suffered a close loss to Nebraska 53-49.

The top performer for the Wildcats was JerShon Cobb. Cobb had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals against the Cornhuskers.

Northwestern as a team shot 37 percent in field goal attempts, 36 percent from three-point range and 70 percent from the line.

In their last matchup, the Spartans defeated the Wildcats 54-40.

Gary Harris was the top performer with 14 points, six rebounds, four steals, two assists and one block.

The Spartans as a whole against the Wildcats shot 39 percent in field goal attempts, 12 percent from behind the arc and 60 percent from the free throw line.

Tre Demps was the top performer for Northwestern recording 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block against the Spartans.

Northwestern as a team shot 28 percent in field goal attempts, 21 percent from the three point line and 75% from behind the line.

Another key player to watch for from the Wildcats is Drew Crawford. Crawford is averaging 16.1 points per game.

Northwestern has had success against high-ranked teams this season and they will be looking to give the Spartans their third loss in the Big Ten.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on BTN.

Hayleigh Geurink is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports