It took a half, but Michigan State basketball found a way to finally pull away from Rutgers after letting the Scarlet Knights hang around Wednesday night.
Their team is littered with youth-four of their impact players are freshman, led by Miles Bridges and Nick Ward. Nigel Johnson added 13 points. After seeing this play, it appears that his ankle is back in full health and ready to roll for the Spartans, who are now 3-0 in Big Ten play after a dominating 93-65 win over Rutgers.
"The trainers and my teammates helped me through the process", Bridges said.
Everyone must temper their expectations with Bridges, as he is unlikely to have a massive impact from the get-go. No, this team isn't anywhere near the cohesiveness or effectiveness of last year's, but the way they played on Wednesday night looked an bad lot like the 2015-16 version of Michigan State basketball.
The Spartans have captured three straight, including their first two Big Ten contests, while the Scarlet Knights are on a three-game losing streak.
It took a mere 18 seconds before Bridges was flying off of the Breslin Center hardwood and slamming in alley-oops for Michigan State. "They're easing me back in there". The Scarlet Knights made just 12 of 27 free throws.
"I feel like it was all of us as a team", Ward said.
"We just didn't seem like we were ready to play", Izzo said. We left so many free throws on the table and some timely turnovers down the stretch.
Michigan State: The Spartans need Harris and fellow shooting guard McQuaid to shoot as they did against Rutgers. His presence was felt on both ends of the floor by being a scorer on offense who could create his own shot by driving the ball to the basket and being a back-side rim protector on the defensive end of the floor. "Here's a very good player, and he was like a kid in a candy store".
MSU travels to Philadelphia to face Penn State on Saturday (1 p.m., ESPN).
"The big thing with him is don't let it get to fatigue and thank God the way he killed himself for the last three and half weeks, on the bike he is in decent shape", Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
There's still a long way to go for Michigan State, but as things now sit, things are starting to look up for the Spartans in march. Izzo has called playing a game at the Palestra, one of the most legendary buildings in college basketball, a "bucket list" opportunity.
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