No. 6 MSU’s team effort key to convincing home win

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EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State opened its doors to the Maryland Terrapins looking to build on its 11-game winning streak. The Spartans did just that, though the way in which they captured their twelfth straight win was slightly unorthodox. Nonetheless, the Spartans were victorious by a final score of 69-55.

Despite averaging over 16 points a game coming into Monday’s game, forward Nick Ward was held scoreless, as foul trouble kept him out of the game for long stretches in the early going. However, his teammates were quick to pick up the slack. Five Spartans scored in double figures en route to the victory, including freshman Aaron Henry, who had a career-high of 12 points.

“At any given point, any guy can give you 10 points,” sophomore Xavier Tillman said of his team’s depth. Tillman had 10 points of his own on the night. “Whoever’s hot each night, we’re going to go to him.”

Kenny Goins stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 14 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks.

“Kenny was the most solid of our group,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said of his fifth-year senior. “He just did some great things. He kept a lot of balls loose, he made a couple shots, and his defense is phenomenal.”

Cassius Winston matched the team-high 14 points to go along with seven assists. The Spartans had no problem running with the Terrapins, outscoring Maryland 29-9 in fast break points. With a team field goal percentage of 45.9 percent, there wasn’t an area on the court where the Spartans struggled. Despite Ward’s foul trouble, the Spartans were able to pour on 36 points in the paint to Maryland’s 20.

Michigan State freshman Aaron Henry started his first game in the Breslin Center, and rose to the occasion. The forward dropped 12 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists.

“It was pretty good hearing my name out there,” Henry said of getting the starting nod. “I’m glad I played well, and more importantly I’m glad we got the win.”

MSU moves to 17-2 on the year and is now 8-0 in conference play. Looking ahead, the Spartans will look to make it 13 straight victories Thursday on the road against No. 19 Iowa. The Terrapins will host Illinois on Saturday.

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