EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State (18-11, 10-6 Big Ten) sent its seniors out in style on Sunday with an 84-74 win over No. 16 Wisconsin (22-7, 11-5) in the Spartans’ final home game of the season.
Nick Ward led four MSU players in double figures with 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting. He added nine rebounds. Miles Bridges scored 17 points and Matt McQuaid added 15. Cassius Winston posted 10 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Michigan State has won four of its last five games as looks primed for its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Why it happened
Michigan State had stretches where it couldn’t buy a bucket, but when the offense got going the Spartans dominated. They shot 46.7 percent from the field, hit 21-of-23 from the free-throw line and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds while turning it over 11 times.
What it means
The Spartans remain in prime position to clinch a Big Ten Tournament double-bye with a fourth-place finish or better. Deadlocked with Minnesota, they hold the tiebreaker. Two games remain in the regular season for both teams.
Nick Ward. When not saddled with foul trouble, the freshman bullied Wisconsin star Ethan Happ on both ends of the floor. His nonstop work down low might often go unnoticed, but it paid dividends on the score sheet.
Josh Langford. He finished with a respectable 9 points, but he too often got lost on defense, especially early. He looked confused as to when he should double-team the post and gave up several open 3-pointers as a result.
Who was there
Michigan State guard Eron Harris, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, got a Senior Day surprise when his mother, Marveda Saunders, performed the national anthem. Harris could not hold back tears. He would later kiss the Breslin Center floor during the final seconds of his final home game.
Great moment for Eron Harris and the Spartans pic.twitter.com/3zIVc1zO7g
— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) February 26, 2017
Spartans commits Xavier Tillman, Thomas Kithier and Foster Loyer took in the game from behind the broadcasters’ table. Several basketball recruiting targets joined them, notably 4-star forwards Joey Hauser (also a Wisconsin target) and Brandon Johns.
Who is next
Michigan State will hit the road to face Illinois on Wednesday in the only regular-season meeting between the two teams. The game tips off at 9 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
Heck of an offensive performance for Michigan State. 21/23 from the line from a team that was dreadful there early in the year. pic.twitter.com/sUdfRLGJAC
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) February 26, 2017