MSU off-court news obscures Jackson’s blocks milestone
While attention was elsewhere for most on Friday night, Michigan State’s basketball team went about its business by beating Wisconsin with four players in double-figures and one putting his name in the record book.
Sophomore Miles Bridges led the way in the 76-61 victory by scoring 24 points and grabbing seven rebounds while Cassius Winston had 17 points and six assists and Nick Ward scored 12 and grabbed 11 rebounds.
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It was freshman Jaren Jackson Jr., however, that became the Spartans’ single-season blocks leader, recording four against the Badgers and giving him 75 for the season. It surpassed the previous mark of 72 established by Ken Johnson in 1984-85.
The Spartans (19-3, 7-2 Big Ten) blocked nine shots in the game, giving them 177 for the season and tying the MSU single-season record, set during the 2015-16 season (35 games).
“I made it known that I wanted that record,” Jackson said, “and I am glad that I got it but that record just stands for me just playing hard and helping out my teammates so if I can keep building that up then we are going to be fine.”
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With the quick turnaround to Sunday’s 1 p.m. tip at Maryland, coach Tom Izzo pleased with the way his team responded Friday night with so much attention surrounding off-court news.
“I thought we got great play out of Bridges again early,” Izzo said. “I thought we were a little complacent at the start of the second half. We played pretty well in the first half and didn’t play as well in the second half. Jaren Jackson had a bunch of blocks, so did Nick Ward. Jackson set a record, the last guy to have that record was Ken Johnson, that was my first year here. So, I was very impressed with Jackson doing that. He struggled a little bit shooting the ball.
“I thought that Cassius Winston went through a little bit early, but then came down and hit some big 3s late and that was a big difference in the game. Our rebounding was good, our shooting percentage was pretty good, our free-throw shooting was good. The only negatives I saw was we had three turnovers at halftime, the second half we had 10.”
No. 6 Michigan State at Maryland
Tip-off: 1 p.m. Sunday, Xfinity Center, College Park, Md.
TV/radio: Fox/WJR 760
Records: Michigan State 19-3, 7-2 Big Ten; Maryland 15-7, 4-5
Outlook: Michigan State has won four the last five against the Terrapins but hasn’t won at Maryland since 2015. ... The Terrapins have lost four of six, including a 71-68 loss to Indiana on Monday. ... Maryland sophomore Kevin Huerter has a team-high 56 3-pointers this season while sophomore Anthony Cowan is scoring 16.4 points and handing out 4.8 assists a game.