Coming off an impressive and emotional victory at home last Saturday against Maryland, the No. 12 Michigan State Spartans were back on the road for a Thursday night match-up with a Northwestern Wildcats club struggling to gain any sort of momentum in conference play.
Behind eight three-pointers in the first half and 16 for the game, the Spartans rolled to a 76-45 drubbing over the ‘Cats in Evanston.
Michigan State (18-4, 5-4 Big Ten) went on to shoot 50.9 percent from the floor in the game and converted on 61.5 percent of their attempts from behind the arc. Senior Denzel Valentine led all scorers with 19 points, 14 of those coming in the first half. Freshman Matt McQuaid had his best game of the season, netting 17 off the bench. He and Valentine combined for 10 of the team’s 16 three-pointers.
Freshman Deyonta Davis also had a solid performance with eight points, 11 rebounds, and rejected six shots.
Northwestern (15-7, 3-6 Big Ten) couldn’t buy a bucket, it looked like they were trying to shoot into a shot glass tonight. Their field goal percentage was colder than the temperature in Evanston at tip-off. The ‘Cats as a team shot an ice cold 20.7 percent from the field. Some credit to the MSU defense, but NU found their fair share of open looks in the game. They’d only make 4 of 23 attempts from downtown.
A couple intriguing stats from the night: the Spartans shot just four free throws in the entire game, all four coming in the final 1:30 of game time. Northwestern, meanwhile, was 17-19 from the charity stripe.
Michigan State will head home to East Lansing and take the floor again on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. on Big Ten Network when a scrappy Rutgers squad that is 0-8 in league play enters the Breslin Center.