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Sanders and Scarlet Knights set for rematch against No.4 Michigan State

14 Января 2018

After averaging 21.3 points off the bench in the seven games after their last meeting with Rutgers on December 5, then scoring a season-low four points Sunday at Ohio State, the Spartans' reserves struggled again offensively Wednesday.

"Wagner played very well", Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "If we follow it and play our game, we'll be fine". This is a Spartans team that has been a fixture in the top five of the polls all season and features preseason All-American Miles Bridges, fellow projected lottery pick Jaren Jackson and a heralded supporting cast. Joshua Langford and Cassius Winston were key in the team's win over Rutgers, so one can expect their contributions will be even more important in a game against MI.

"Obviously we're disappointed for Blair", head coach Brenda Frese said in a release earlier in the day. "I told you after that game, some of that was our fault, my fault, the perimeter guys' fault".

With people questioning how the Spartans, who were flat out outplayed in Columbus, would respond to a lesser opponent in Rutgers, their first half showing didn't offer much clarity.

Miles Bridges was held scoreless at the intermission, going 0-for-3 in 13 minutes of work. On Saturday, point guard Cassius Winston had four turnovers and two assists.

Matthews, a transfer from the University of Kentucky, takes the most shots per game of any other Wolverine and has scored in double figures in each of his last eight games.

"What we've got to do is get over the ball screens", Izzo said. I know Jackson gets three or four shot blocks a game [3.1], so he might get a few against us, but that won't stop me from continuing to attack. The 6-foot-6 guard is averaging 15.6 points and is among team leaders with 5.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. The Spartans are done with Ohio State and Michigan State the rest of the regular season and they'll face Purdue only once at home on February 6.

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Although Michigan State beats Michigan in the statistics, this is a big rivalry game and the Wolverines are coming off a 69-70 loss at home against No. 5 Purdue.

Rutgers' Geo Baker drilled a 3-pointer with 9:55 to go to tie the game at 39.

Bridges' first bucket of the contest game at the 7:41 mark in the second half, attacking the bucket and finishing with an acrobatic, left-handed finger roll. The preseason All-America player opened overtime with a 3-pointer, but ended up with as many turnovers (3) as made shots on 10 attempts and appeared to be frustrated throughout the game.

Despite a tough first half, Josh Langford came alive in the second half and overtime, scoring nine of his 12 points in the half, and added a huge go-ahead corner trifecta in the final minute of OT. Doing the things to win us games and playing Spartan basketball. "There were some turnovers they earned, there were some turnovers we deserved, so a little bit of both".

Izzo put much of that blame on his guards and not Nick Ward, who played just 14 minutes. "I'm going to address a couple guys on the grit that you have to have to play with in the Big Ten".

With the win, the Spartans improve to 16-2 on the season, with their next game on January 13.

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Sanders and Scarlet Knights set for rematch against No.4 Michigan State