Cassius Winston scores 26 to lead Michigan State past Oakland 99-69
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Oakland coach Greg Kampe has been on the sideline for more than 1,000 games over three-plus decades.
And he’s never seen a team as speedy as No. 10 Michigan State.
Cassius Winston scored a season-high 26 points and directed a fast-paced offense, leading the Spartans to a 99-69 win over Oakland on Friday night.
“They are the fastest team that I’ve played against,” Kampe said.
Michigan State scored 47 points on the fast break , and also quickly got the ball up the court for baskets after Oakland made shots.
“We felt if we could make them score in the 60s we would have a chance,” Kampe said. “We couldn’t stop them.”
The Spartans (10-2) have won five straight, but coach Tom Izzo is far from satisfied.
“The effort-related things weren’t there,” said Izzo, referring to how his team defended and rebounded.
The Golden Grizzlies (4-9) dropped their fourth game in a row, growing pains for a young team.
“I’ve never been in a transition where we have no one who played last year,” Kampe said.
Michigan State’s Nick Ward had 14 points in 20 minutes, limited by foul trouble. Joshua Langford started slow offensively and finished with 12 points for the Spartans.
Oakland’s Xavier Hill-Mais had 17 points on 8-of-20 shooting and fouled out midway through the second half, a clear setback for his team.
“The air went out of us,” Kampe said.
Braden Norris had 18 points, Jaevin Cumberland scored 13 and Karmari Newman added 11 points for the Grizzlies.
The Spartans took control of the game early with a balanced offensive attack, making extra passes to open teammates. They led 45-32 at halftime.
Michigan State pulled away midway through the second half, ultimately leading by 30-plus points.
“They were a pretty good team, but we did a good job of putting a run together and blowing it open,” Winston said.
HE’S COME A LONG WAY
Michigan State fifth-year senior forward Kenny Goins had seven points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Kampe marveled at how much stronger the 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward has become over the years.
“He turned us down to walk on here,” Kampe said.
ON THE DEFENSIVE
Izzo liked how his team played offensively, but wasn’t pleased with it on the other end of the court even though Oakland made just 40 percent of its shots.
Winston, in particular, was the target of his criticism.
“He’s got to bear down on the defensive end,” Izzo said. “If he does that, he goes from a very, very good player to an elite player.”
Michigan State sophomore forward Xavier Tillman had eight points, seven rebounds, a career-high five assists, one block and one steal off the bench.
Michigan State: The Spartans’ unselfish offense is tough to stop. They had 15 assists on 17 made baskets in the first half and finished with 27 assists on 38-of-65 shooting.
“They always seemed to make that next pass,” Kampe said. “And that’s a hard thing to guard.”
Oakland: The Grizzlies are slumping, losing six of seven, but playing teams such as Michigan State, Georgia and Xavier should prepare them well for the Horizon League.
“Why do we win in February? Because of who we play,” Kampe said.
Oakland: Plays at Cleveland State on Friday night in the Horizon League opener for both teams.
Michigan State: Hosts Northern Illinois, coached by former Michigan State point guard Mark Montgomery, on Dec. 29.
“The Christmas break is going to be huge,” Winston said. “We can be as good as any team in the country.”