Nick Ward leads Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team in easy win over Northwestern

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, center, talks with Spartans Nick Ward, left, and Cassius Winston during the second half against Northwestern on Wednesday in East Lansing. (AP photo)

AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — Nick Ward was so dominant in the first half he didn’t have to score after halftime to help No. 8 Michigan State stay undefeated in Big Ten play.
Ward scored all 21 of his points in the first half to give the Spartans build a big lead and they went on to beat Northwestern 81-55 Wednesday night.
The 6-foot-9 post player took full advantage of being defended by only one player on most possessions.
“I guess that was their game plan, but I liked it,” Ward said.
The Spartans (12-2, 3-0 Big Ten) have won seven straight this season and 10 consecutive games against the Wildcats.
“We’re good,” coach Tom Izzo said. “But I don’t know how good yet.”
Northwestern (9-5, 0-3) had won three of four, losing only to No. 23 Oklahoma in overtime, and coach Chris Collins hopes his players are mad about how poorly they played.
“Hopefully, we’re angry,” Collins said. “It’s not fun to get beat like that.”
Michigan State made up for the loss of shooting guard Joshua Langford, who missed the game with an injured left ankle, with five players scoring in double figures.
Cassius Winston had 13 points and matched a season high with 12 assists, and Xavier Tillman equaled his career high with 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Kyle Ahrens scored 11 points, and Matt McQuaid added 10.
Northwestern’s Derek Pardon scored 19 points and didn’t have much help offensively as the only player in double digits on his team. Vic Law, who entered averaging a team-high 18.9 points, had just five points.