EAST LANSING, Mich. — The year may have changed to 2018, but Thursday night yielded the same result for the Michigan State Spartans, who picked up their 14th straight win with a 91-61 rout of the Maryland Terrapins inside the Breslin Center.
Michigan State came into the night riding a 13-game winning streak which started following their loss at the 2017 Champions Classic to the Duke Blue Devils. Their streak has seen them ascend to the top spot in both the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll, and they were eager to prove they deserved the ranking against a short-handed Maryland team.
The Spartans had also scored 100 or more points in four straight games, but it’s always tough to do that against the stiff competition of the Big Ten Conference. They came close, but they didn’t need to score 100 points to win big.
Four Spartans scored in double figures on the night, led by sophomore forward Nick Ward, who had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Ten of the 12 players who saw action on Friday scored at least two points for the Green and White, who improved to 15-1 on the season with their win over the Terrapins.
Miles Bridges stuffed the stat sheet once again on Thursday night, finishing with 15 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Jaren Jackson, Jr. had 15 points and three blocks, while Cassius Winston dished out eight assists to go along with his 10 points.
Matt McQuaid came off the bench to record six points, seven rebounds, and five assists in 24 minutes of action.
As a team, Michigan State shot 57.1% (32-of-58) from the floor, and 57.1% (16-of-28) from three point range in the win. The Spartans recorded 30 assists as a team on 32 made field goals, which is an incredible number.
For the Terrapins, the guard duo of Anthony Cowan, Jr. (26 points) and Kevin Huerter (16 points) combined for 42 of Maryland’s 61 points in the loss. They also combined to make 13 of the Terrapins’ 20 made field goals on the night.
The forward contingent of Bruno Fernando, Michal Cekovsky, Joshua Tomaic, and Sean Obi were held to a combined 11 points and 12 rebounds. Maryland was out-rebounded by Michigan State by a 34-27 margin.
Early in the first half, the Terrapins were right with the Spartans. Fernando and Huerter hit jumpers in the first two minutes to give the visitors an early 5-0 lead over the Spartans. Bridges answered with a pair of three pointers a couple of minutes later, and the back and forth half was in full swing.
Both teams took turns holding slim leads as the first half wore on, but it was only a matter of time before the Spartans seized control. After Cowan got a layup to drop with 5:23 to play that tied the game at 29-all, Michigan State went on a run to take control before the opening half was up.
Ward answered Cowan’s layup with one of his own, kicking off a 15-0 run that blew the game open for the home side. Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn capped the run with a three pointer with 1:22 to play in the half, giving the Spartans a 44-29 lead.
Michigan State led by 12 at the break, and were never threatened in the second frame.
The Spartans padded their lead as the second half ticked away. Their advantage reached as many as 32 points late in the second frame, and Maryland tied their lowest offensive output of the season in the loss. Michigan State cruised to the 30-point win over the Terrapins, 91-61.
With the loss, the seven game winning streak for Maryland (13-4, 2-2) has come to an end. They will look to start a new streak on Sunday when they return home to host the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Make it 14 straight wins for Michigan State (15-1, 3-0), who proved they are more than deserving of their number one ranking in the polls. The Spartans will look to add another win to their streak on Sunday when they head to Columbus, OH for a date with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
– T. Bennett