EAST LANSING, Mich. — On Friday night, the second-ranked Michigan State Spartans picked up right where they left off before the Christmas break.
Michigan State welcomed the Cleveland State Vikings to town, and the Spartans were looking to extend their winning streak to 12 games with a win. Not only did they extend their streak, they also accomplished something that they haven’t done since November, 2004.
For the third game in a row, the Spartans topped the 100-point mark in a game. They shot 65.1% from the floor and 57.7% from three point range on Friday, cruising to the 111-61 victory over the Vikings.
The Spartans had six players score in double figures, led by guard Joshua Langford, who continued his strong play on the offensive end with a team-high 23 points. He was 9-of-12 from the floor, and 4-of-5 from three point range. Nick Ward added 22 points and 14 rebounds for Michigan State (13-1, 2-0), who never trailed on the night.
Miles Bridges added 18 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, while Matt McQuaid chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
Senior guard Bobby Word scored a game-high 26 points to pace the attack for Cleveland State (3-10, 0-0), who have now lost four straight games to end off the 2017 calendar year. Forward Anthony Wright was the only other player to reach double figures for the Vikings, recording 14 points to go along with three rebounds in the loss.
Michigan State opened the game by hitting 10 of their first 12 shots of the night. They used a quick 7-0 run in the first 1:11 of the game to take control from the outset, and the Spartans were off and running. As a team, the Spartans shot 74% from the field in the first half, and 9-of-13 from three point range.
The Spartans held a 63-25 lead at the break, and the lead ballooned in the second frame. With more than five minutes left in the game, Michigan State eclipsed the 100-point mark for the third game in a row. A three from Bridges with 5:43 to play put the Spartans ahead by 54, at 101-47.
It was a lopsided game in several facets. The Spartans held a decisive 48-16 edge in terms of rebounding, tripling the total of the Vikings. Michigan State also had six players with three or more assists, and they recorded 26 assists as a team, in comparison to nine for Cleveland State.
Michigan State finished the game shooting 65.1% (41-of-63) from the floor, and 57.7% (15-of-26) from three point range. The Vikings were held to 32.8% (19-of-58) shooting on the night.
To close out 2017, Michigan State will look to extend their winning streak to 13 games on New Year’s Eve when they play host to the Savannah State Tigers. It could be the fourth straight game that the Spartans eclipse 100 points, as the Tigers have already allowed eight teams to score at least 100 points this season.
As for Cleveland State, they will look to end their losing streak on New Year’s Day when they face off against the Youngstown State Penguins in the Horizon League opener for both teams.
– T. Bennett