Spar­tans in con­trol for 10th win in row

The Capital - - SPORTS -

Nick Ward had 16 points and 11 re­bounds to lead No. 6 Michi­gan State to a 71-56 win over Penn State on Sun­day in State Col­lege, Pa.

Matt McQuaid added 15 points and Cas­sius Win­ston chipped in 11 for the Spar­tans (15-2, 6-0 Big Ten), who have won 10 straight. They also beat the Nit­tany Lions (7-10, 0-6) for the 10th con­sec­u­tive time.

Kenny Goins added 10 re­bounds for the Spar­tans, who trailed for only 10 sec­onds of the game and led by as many as 21 with 6:44 to play.

None of that seemed to im­press coach Tom Izzo, how­ever.

“Maybe we're all talk­ing too much about how good we are,” Izzo said. “We're not that good.”

But the Spar­tans were good enough to take con­trol just over five min­utes into the first half with a re­lent­less pos­ses­sion.

Fueled by a pair of of­fen­sive re­bounds from Goins and Xavier Till­man, the Spar­tans con­trolled the ball for nearly 40 sec­onds and took the lead for good when Win­ston pin­pointed a bounce pass through traf­fic to Goins, who fin­ished with a right-handed dunk. Goins' jam sparked a 28-14 run for the Spar­tans, who led 40-24 at half­time.

La­mar Stevens led Penn State (7-10, 0-6) with 20 points.

Reach­ing par­ity: The teams lead­ing the AP Top 25 spent the week pil­ing up vic­to­ries or sur­viv­ing close calls, most notably when top-ranked Duke posted a last-sec­ond win at No. 13 Florida State.

Things didn't go nearly so well for teams in the sec­ond half of the poll.

In the lat­est sign of what could be an­other un­pre­dictable March, 12 of the 15 teams out­side the top 10 lost at least once and com­bined for 17 losses. That in­cluded five teams los­ing twice: No. 14 Mis­sis­sippi State, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 20 Iowa State, No. 24 St. John's and No. 25 TCU.

The only ranked teams out­side the top 10 to avoid losses were No. 18 Ken­tucky, No. 19 Buf­falo and No. 21 Mar­quette, set­ting the stage for some sig­nif­i­cant changes in Mon­day's new poll.

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