Big 10: Spartans top No. 16 Wisconsin
(Reuters) EAST LANSING, Mich. – You couldn’t have blamed Michigan State if they decided to rename their annual “Senior Day” on Sunday against No. 16 Wisconsin.
With the way the game played out and how significant it turned out to be for the Spartans, “Freshman Carrying the Day” was much more appropriate.
In search of another signature win to enhance its NCAA tournament hopes, Michigan State certainly got that in its home-finale, earning an 84-74 win over No. 16 Wisconsin.
The Badgers (22-7, 11-5) were attempting to move into a first-place tie in the Big Ten standings with Purdue, but instead fell behind by a game thanks to an inspired Michigan State team wanting badly to extend its streak of NCAA tournament appearances to 20.
Michigan State (18-11, 10-6) won for the fourth time in its last five games.
“The greatest memory making moment will be that for the next 60 years, you are going to understand when your back is against the wall and your neck is on the line, you can do one of two things,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “You can give up or you can grind. We grinded. I’m very proud of them for that.”
The biggest reason Michigan State took a big step towards its NCAA tournament goal was the play of its freshmen class, which gave the seniors quite a send-off with their performances.
Despite being limited to 19 minutes because of foul trouble, freshman center Nick Ward outplayed Wisconsin sophomore standout Ethan Happ, finishing with 22 points and nine rebounds.
Freshman forward Miles Bridges scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half, freshman point guard Cassius Winston came off of the bench to score 10 points and dish out seven assists.