No. 6 Michigan St beats Wisconsin 76-61 on day AD retires
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Miles Bridges looked comfortable, effortlessly making jump shots toward the end of a tumultuous day at Michigan State.
Bridges scored 24 points and the sixth-ranked Spartans beat the Wisconsin Badgers 76-61 on Friday night, less than 12 hours after athletic director Mark Hollis announced his retirement amid the outcry over how the school handled allegations against Larry Nassar.
“There are a lot of things that happened today that are part of life,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said .
Bridges was 8 of 13 overall and made four of six 3-pointers.
“Adding the 3 to his game has made him a harder guard,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “Obviously, he’s explosive to the rim and he does a good job of putting it on the floor.”
The Spartans (19-3, 7-2 Big Ten) have won three straight after losing two of the previous three games.
Wisconsin (10-12, 3-6) has lost five of six.
The court was surrounded by a sea of teal T-shirts worn by students, hoping to raise awareness about sexual violence.
“Honoring our survivors was really neat that our students did it,” Izzo said.
Hollis, a close friend of Izzo, is retiring as the latest leader to step away because of a sexual abuse scandal involving a former physician at the school. Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon announced her resignation Wednesday night, hours after Nassar was sentenced to decades in prison this week for molesting girls and young women.
Izzo refused to answer many questions related to the scandal, saying the top priority is for “our courageous survivors,” during the healing process.
“I’m going to worry about my team, I’m going to worry about the survivors and I’m going to worry about what I do,” he said.
Izzo, though, said he has no intention on being the next to leave Michigan State.
“I’m not going anywhere, in my mind,” Izzo said. ”I’m definitely not retiring .”
The recent series of events seemed to create a relatively subdued atmosphere at the usually raucous Breslin Center.
Cassius Winston had 17 points and six assists, Nick Ward had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Jaren Jackson had 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks for the Spartans.
Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ had 23 points and seven rebounds and Brevin Pritzl scored 13.
Wisconsin: The short-handed Badgers are competing hard, trying to overcome to loss of injured guards D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King along with the loss of five seniors from last year’s team. After being down 37-21 at halftime against Michigan State, the Badgers outscored the Spartans 40-39.
“Specifically in the second half, we really battled and did a lot of good things,” Gard said. “But you have to make shots.”
Wisconsin was held to 21 percent in the first half and finished making 36 percent of its shots.
Michigan State: Izzo’s mood the rest of the season will be something to watch. Izzo was the best man at Hollis’ wedding and they were roommates decades ago when they were starting their careers at Michigan State. Choosing to keep his emotions to himself, Izzo didn’t answer a question asking for his reaction to Hollis’ decision.
THEY SAID IT
Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio briefly addressed reporters in response to an ESPN report detailing various allegations involving Michigan State football and basketball players.
“I’m here tonight to say that any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false,” Dantonio said. “Every incident reported in that article was documented by either police or the Michigan State Title IX office. I’ve always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with the cases of sexual assault.”
Izzo chose not to say as much about the report.
“We will cooperate with any investigation going forward as we have always done,” Izzo said.
Wisconsin: Hosts Nebraska on Monday.
Michigan State: Visit Maryland on Sunday.
Follow AP Sports Writer Larry Lage: https://twitter.com/LarryLage