Cassius Winston leads Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team soon after brother’s death
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — Cassius Winston breezed smoothly toward the basket for a layup. Then he checked out of the game moments later, stopping for a hug with coach Tom Izzo on the way back to join his teammates on the sideline.
This was a weekend when basketball was put in perspective — but maybe provided a bit of comfort as well.
Playing a night after the death of his brother, Winston had 17 points and 11 assists to lift No. 1 Michigan State to an emotional 100-47 victory over Binghamton in the Spartans’ home opener Sunday night. Zachary Winston, Cassius’ younger brother, died after being hit by a westbound Amtrak train in Albion on Saturday night. He was a basketball player at Albion College.
Cassius Winston took his usual spot in Michigan State’s starting lineup Sunday. The crowd observed a moment of silence in Zachary’s honor, then Cassius assisted on Michigan State’s first basket and sank his first shot, a 3-pointer from near the top of the key.
“There was a lot of love in that locker room, and a lot of love in that arena,” Izzo said. “But it’s going to have to probably double, because I think the road gets a little tougher for him.”
Izzo said he found out the news shortly after midnight, then spent several hours with Winston and his family. It wasn’t clear if the star point guard would play.