Though it was close at the beginning of the game, No. 1 Michigan State men’s basketball took off and flew past Maryland in a 91-61 victory on Thursday night in East Lansing.
The Spartans were led by 16 points from Nick Ward and 15 from Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston in the effort.
Coach Tom Izzo spoke after the game and had plenty to say about the effort that kept his Spartans on their 14-game winning streak.
“I thought the most impressive stat for us was to have seven turnovers. Our guys were more fired up about that than almost the win, and the other one that is kind of perfect for this team to start the Big Ten season off is 30 assists out of 32 baskets. That kind of tells what kind of team I have, most unselfish team around. So I was pleased with 90 percent of the game.”
On Xavier Tillman:
“He’s got mitts for hands. Once the ball touches those hands, it’s hard to get it away from him. … He sets screens. He rolls. He does the dirty work, and he enjoys it. Before he’s done, I’ve been really impressed with the intelligent part of his game. Him and Jaren [Jackson Jr.], I’ve got two freshmen that really understand the game, so hopefully we keep building on that.”
On bench scoring:
“Our depth hasn’t scored a lot of points in these games early. We need [Matt] McQuaid a lot. … We can rotate some guys. We got Ben [Carter] in there a little bit at the end because he hasn’t played much and we had to make sure we bring him back slowly but surely.”
On 16-of-28 3-point shooting:
“If you ask me, 28 is probably too many for us. Nick [Ward] has to get more touches. … We got some threes off the kick-outs. We got some threes of the break. We got some threes off the plays we ran. … I’d like to see that around 24 maybe, but I didn’t see many bad ones.”
On the 7 turnovers:
“We had about three meetings in the last four days because we had time. We talked more about things. We showed film. We tried to explain what other teams are doing. … I think a little of it is they got a little casual over some of those games. Coaches never want to admit it, but when you’re up 40, you play different. I was pleased.”
“We looked like a basketball team tonight. We took a punch early. Our crowd got into the game. Our players got into the game. We beat a good team.”