Michi­gan stays per­fect with rout of North­west­ern

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS -

Zavier Simp­son stuffed the stat sheet Sun­day night with 24 points, five re­bounds, four as­sists and three steals as No. 2 Michi­gan stayed un­beaten with an easy 80-60 Big Ten Con­fer­ence win over short-handed North­west­ern in Ann Ar­bor, Mich.

The win gave the Wolver­ines (170, 6-0 Big Ten) their best start in pro­gram his­tory, break­ing a tie with the 2012-13 team that started 16-0. Over­all, Michi­gan has won 31 of its last 32 games.

Jon Teske scored 17 points, all in the first half, and hauled in 11 re­bounds for the Wolver­ines. Charles Matthews added 13 points, and fresh­man Ig­nas Brazdeikis chipped in 11 as Michi­gan canned 52.5 per­cent from the field and hit 11 of 27 3-point at­tempts.

Der­erk Par­don tal­lied 20 points on 10-of-16 shoot­ing to pace the Wild­cats (10-7, 1-5), and Ryan Tay­lor net­ted 15, go­ing 4 of 7 on 3-point­ers. But North­west­ern sim­ply didn’t have enough punch to make a game of it with­out lead­ing scorer Vic Law.

The 6-foot-7 se­nior, av­er­ag­ing more than 17 points per game, sat out with a lower-body in­jury. The Wild­cats hung around for about 12 min­utes be­fore the Wolver­ines’ sti­fling de­fense teamed with ef­fi­cient of­fense to stretch the lead to 22 by half­time.

Par­don’s dunk at the 9:32 mark of the first half drew North­west­ern within 21-18, but Michi­gan blew it open shortly there­after. Isa­iah Livers and Jor­dan Poole drilled 3-point­ers to start a game-de­cid­ing 29-10 run that lasted the fi­nal 9:15 of the half.

The ad­van­tage reached dou­ble fig­ures for good as Simp­son stroked a 3-ball with 4:45 left in the half to make it 34-22. Teske rat­tled off 11 straight points in a 2:29 span, and Simp­son’s steal and layup just be­fore half­time made it 50-28 at in­ter­mis­sion.

Spar­tans’ streak at 10

Sixth-ranked Michi­gan State en­tered Sun­day’s game at Penn State as one of the best de­fen­sive teams in the na­tion.

And the Spar­tans leaned on that de­fense heav­ily, over­com­ing sloppy of­fense to beat the Nit­tany Li­ons, 71-56, in Univer­sity Park, Pa. for their 10th straight vic­tory.

Nick Ward scored 16 points and pulled down 11 re­bounds to lead Michi­gan State (15-2, 6-0 Big Ten). But the rest of the of­fense wasn’t as re­li­able.

Cas­sius Win­ston strug­gled for much of the game, turn­ing it over seven times. He did score 11 points and hand out six as­sists. Matt McQuaid added 15 points, as the Spar­tans were with­out Joshua Lang­ford for the fourth straight game as well as Kyle Ahrens, who stayed back in East Lans­ing with a back sprain.

Lamar Stevens scored 20 to lead Penn State (7-10, 0-6) while Mike Watkins, Myles Dread and Josh Reaves each added 11 points for the Nit­tany Li­ons. Penn State was just 22 for 60 (.367) from the field and 5 for 22 (.227) on 3-point­ers.

Michi­gan State en­tered the game with the top field-goal per­cent­age de­fense in the Big Ten, and the first half pro­vided plenty of ev­i­dence why the Spar­tans hold teams to 37 per­cent shoot­ing from the field.

The Nit­tany Li­ons rarely got the ball on the block, of­ten set­tling for deep 3-point­ers. They made just 3 of 13 3-point shots and were only 10 for 32 over­all as the Spar­tans pushed the lead to 18 when an Aaron Henry dunk put them up 37-19 with four min­utes to go in the half.

The teams were tied 10-10 more than five min­utes into the game be­fore the Spar­tans went on an 18-4 run.

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