Trice’s, 16 lifts Michigan State over Northwestern, 68-44


Michigan State was able to take the season series against Big Ten rival Northwestern Wildcats. The second meeting between the two lacked the excitement of the first game as Michigan State won, 68-44. Coming off the five point home loss to Illinois, bouncing back against Northwestern keeps the Spartans somewhat alive in the Big Ten race.

From the tip, the Spartans controlled the flow of the game. In the first half alone, Michigan State was plus eight in rebounds and connected on nine of their 18 three-point attempts.

Bryn Forbes and his three first half triples gave Michigan State the early boost they needed to take control of the game.

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A combination of good ball movement and second chance points allowed the Spartans to enjoy a 24 point lead in the first half. The unselfish play continued in the second half as Michigan State finished with 19 assist on 23 made field goals.

While the offense was fluent in the first half, the defense looked stout. Northwestern shot 20 percent from the floor in the first half and scored a miserable 14 points and had more turnovers than field goals made.

The defensive dominance continued in the second half as Michigan State went on a 28-4 run during a 10 minute span towards the end of the second half to mid-way through the second half and held the Wildcats to 35 percent shooting for the game.

The embarrassment continued throughout the second half while Northwestern scored 30 second half points, it was not enough to cut into the large deficit they set for themselves in the first half.

Led by guard, Travis Trice and his 16 points and three assist, Michigan State was able to cruise to a relatively easy win.

Forward Branden Dawson had his finger prints all over this win, finishing with seven points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Denzel Valentine added 14 points, draining four triples.

Even in the blowout win, free-throws were not an issue for Michigan State. While the team is last in the Big Ten in free-throw percentage, shooting 70 percent in a big win, very briefly quiets the talk of the Spartans being a poor from the charity strike.

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Everything went well for the Spartans which is something they have lacked many times this season. Despite struggling earlier in the season with teams they are supposed to beat, knocking off Northwestern by 20 plus points, lets Spartan nation breathe easily for the time being.

With the win, Michigan State improves to 16-8 (7-4 in Big Ten) but remains a team on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.

Seven games remain on the Spartans schedule and of those seven, winning six would be ideal. But, with four of the final seven on the road and 2-4 road record this season and how fickle the team has been, there’s no guarantee the Spartans season will end on a positive note.

Michigan State returns home Saturday when the No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes come to East Lansing.