Northwestern (6-14, 1-9 B1G) dropped its fifth straight game to a Big Ten opponent on Wednesday night, falling 79-50 to the conference-leading No. 14 Michigan State Spartans (16-5, 8-2). The Spartans controlled the game on all fronts as Wildcats could not find any momentum on offense or defense, falling to MSU for the 12th time in a row.
NU only had 19 made field goals on the night, shooting just 35 percent from the field and 15 percent from three. The Wildcats were also out-rebounded by a margin of 17 and allowed the Spartans to pull down 15 offensive boards.
Pat Spencer, Ryan Young and Miller Kopp led the way for the ‘Cats with 11, eight and seven points, respectively. Robbie Beran was back in starting lineup after limited play against Ohio State due to a knee injury. He finished with eight points and six rebounds.
Northwestern could have benefitted from a better performance from Pete Nance, who did not score in the matchup and committed five turnovers on the night.
The Wildcats did not get off to their fastest start. After Ryan Young found Northwestern’s first score of the game to tie it up at two, Michigan State went on a 14-0 run behind six quick points from Malik Hall. Four NU turnovers led to a six minute scoring drought for the ‘Cats, and MSU extended its lead to 16-2. At the 12:49 mark, Robbie Beran ended the drought with a pair of free throws.
The ‘Cats quickly responded to the Spartans’ efforts with a 13-2 run of of their own. They held Michigan State scoreless for four minutes as Beran, Spencer and Young continued to carry the offense. Miller Kopp found his first bucket of the day on a deep three to cut the lead to three.
However, the Spartans bounced back with a three from Foster Loyer, who finished the day with 12 points, despite only scoring five total over his past six games. His shot extended the Michigan State lead to nine. Spencer immediately answered with a three, adding to his team-high seven points in the half, and Boo Buie found his first bucket of the day to cut the lead to four.
Despite the Wildcats’ efforts late in the half, again, the Spartans found a jump start and a quick 7-0 run extended their lead to 33-22 at the half.
To open the second half, the Spartans continued their run from the end of the first as Cassius Winston hit a deep three to tie their biggest advantage of the game. The Spartans continued to pick apart the Wildcat defense and shutdown the offense, extending the run to 20-2 and the lead to 22, the largest so far.
The Spartans continued to extend their lead with a rowdy crowd behind them, after Michigan State was charged with two technical fouls within minutes of each other — one on Tom Izzo and one on Julius Marble. The penalties only further inspired the Spartans, who responded with back-to-back threes to increase the lead further to 27 points. Northwestern simply had no response.
With under five minutes to play, Michigan State continued to fire from all cylinders and continued to connect. The Spartans extended their margin of victory to a whopping 36 points thanks to 12 made threes on 40 percent shooting from behind the arc. Winston led the way with 18, and Xavier Tillman added 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
The ‘Cats will return home on Saturday to face off against the Purdue Boilermakers at 8:00 p.m. CST.