After a bit of a shaky start to the year. Michigan State Spartans seem to be hitting their groove at just the right time. The Spartans improve to 3-0 in the Big Ten after beating Illinois 76-56 Thursday night. Since the loss to Duke, The Spartans have won six in a row and has looked better every game.
Cassius Winston, Michigan State’s star point guard, returned to action after sitting out for the Spartans last game against Western Michigan. Winston did not lose a step during his time off. He scored nine of the Spartans first 13 points and led the game in scoring with 21 points total. Winston wasn’t the only Spartan to get it going, though. Four of the five starters scored in double figures. Xavier Tillman had 19 (more on the big guy later), Aaron Henry had 10, and Gabe Brown had 12. The other starter, Marcus Bingham Jr, scored zero but added 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Illinois Struggles from Deep
Illinois, simply put, shot terrible. 3-28 from deep. Not good. However, they dominated The Spartans in the paint, where they scored the majority of their points. They also won the offensive glass 20-11. The Illini were led by Ayo Dosunmu, who scored 20. Their star freshman, Kofi Cockburn, was held to just five.
Player of the Game
Xavier Tillman. Probably the best game of his career. Defensively, he dominated the larger Cockburn for the majority of the game and had four blocks. Offensively, He scored 19, knocked down a three, and had a career-high six assists. He put Kofi Cockburn in the spin cycle and put Da’monte Williams on a poster.
Here Comes Michigan
The Spartans beat the Illini, but the next big test comes Sunday against rival #12 ranked Michigan. MSU won all three matchups against the Wolverines last year. The most important matchup in that game is going to be Tillman vs. Michigan’s Jon Teske., who leads the team in points and rebounds. If Tillman can win that, the Spartans have a great chance of winning.
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