Cassius Winston scores 24, No. 8 Michigan State beats Northern Illinois

Posted at 9:16 AM, Dec 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-30 09:16:47-05

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Cassius Winston matched a career-high with six 3-pointers and scored 24 points, leading No. 8 Michigan State to 88-60 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

The Spartans (11-2) have won six straight, heading into the Big Ten season.

The Huskies (7-6) have alternated between winning and losing for much of the season.

Northern Illinois coach Mark Montgomery returned to the school where he played point guard from 1988-92 and was one of Tom Izzo's assistants from 2001-11.

Montgomery was all smiles before tip-off, seeing familiar faces at the Breslin Center. He didn't appear to be in a great mood once the game started.

Winston made two 3-pointers in the first 1:34 to help the Spartans take a 9-2 lead, and they kept control enough to lead 43-19 at halftime. Michigan State led by at least 20 points during the entire second half.

Winston shot 8 of 10 overall, missed only one 3-pointer, and had seven assists without a turnover.

Michigan State's Kenny Goins had 12 points, Nick Ward scored 11 points and reserve Xavier Tillman added eight points and matched a career high with 13 rebounds.

Joshua Langford didn't play in the second half for the Spartans, sitting out as a precaution because of ankle soreness. Langford missed his first six shots and finished with three points on 1-of-8 shooting.

Eugene German scored 20 points and Levi Bradley had 13 points for the Huskies.


Northern Illinois: The Huskies have had success this season by taking a lot of 3-pointers and making many of them, including equaling a school-record 14 in the previous game against Chicago State. They entered the game making 52.3 percent of their shots beyond the arc. They trailed just Indiana and Gonzaga in 3-point shooting percentage by making more than seven on 19-plus attempts beyond the arc. Northern Illinois was 3 of 6 beyond the arc in the first half and finishing 6 of 23 for 26 percent.

Michigan State: The tuneup season is over. The Spartans will get back to Big Ten play in their next game, hosting Northwestern. They won their first two conference games against No. 24 Iowa and at Rutgers. Michigan State is the defending regular-season champion and likely will have to outlast No. 2 Michigan in the 20-game conference season to defend the title.


Northern Illinois: Opens the Mid-American Conference season Saturday at Ohio.

Michigan State: Resumes Big Ten play Wednesday at home against Northwestern.