No. 2 Michigan State routs Cleveland State 111-61

Michigan State’s Nick Ward (44) and Cleveland State’s Stefan Kenic (13) battle for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

By AP Sports

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Tom Izzo took the microphone after the game and addressed the Michigan State crowd.

His team had just played another routine late-December tuneup, and games at this time of year aren’t ideal for student attendance, but there were enough Spartans fans at the Breslin Center for a lively atmosphere.

“You packed this place when we got no students here or anybody else here, and everybody’s in the Christmas spirit,” Izzo said. “You guys are supporting your Spartans, and your Spartans appreciate it.”

Nick Ward had 22 points and 14 rebounds , and No. 2 Michigan State rolled to a 111-61 victory over Cleveland State on Friday night, the third straight game for the Spartans with over 100 points. Michigan State led 63-25 at halftime after shooting 74 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes — including 9 of 13 from 3-point range.

Michigan State (13-1) is making short work of the weaker opponents on its schedule. The Spartans scored 107 points against Houston Baptist and 102 against Long Beach State before dismantling coach Dennis Felton’s Cleveland State team.

“I don’t know what I was thinking when I scheduled this game,” Felton cracked.

Joshua Langford scored 23 points for Michigan State, and Miles Bridges added 18 with eight rebounds and seven assists. Bobby Word scored 26 points for Cleveland State (3-10) and made seven 3-pointers.

Michigan State finished 15 of 26 from beyond the arc and shot 65 percent overall.

“If we didn’t go zone, they might have scored 200 points,” Felton said. “There weren’t many answers tonight.”

Michigan State hadn’t played since Dec. 21, so it wouldn’t have been surprising if the Spartans had been a little sluggish. But both the crowd and the home team were ready from the start.

The Spartans led 18-4 after making their first seven shots from the field. It was 38-9 after a 3-pointer by Matt McQuaid.

Cleveland State made a few outside shots of its own, but the Vikings could never do much to trouble the Spartans. Michigan State surpassed 100 points with over 5 1/2 minutes remaining.

“You can’t let down,” Langford said. “You get to the point where you’re playing against yourself.”

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