There are good shooting nights, there are bad shooting nights and there are shooting nights like the one Northwestern had.
The Wildcats fell behind quickly and stayed behind due to their inability to find the basket. And by inability I mean 20 percent shooting inability. Sparty pounced and rolled NU 76-45. Michigan State hasn’t lost at Northwestern since 2012, with an average win margin of 23 points. Not too shabby.
MSU ripped off an 8-0 run to double up NU 20-10 early in the first half, and that was just the beginning. Senior forward Denzel Valentine looked more at home than the Wildcats, knocking down his first four three pointers.
Meanwhile, Northwestern’s first half numbers were atrocious, a measly 22 percent from the field and 21 percent from three. Not exactly the best strategy when you’re looking to upset the No. 12 team in the nation.
After a rare three-pointer by Aaron Falzon, the Wildcats opened up the second half missing 13 consecutive shots (insert overused basketball analogy about poor shooting here).
Matt McQuaid was in the throes of a nasty freshman slump before Thursday. In his last five games, McQuaid shot 20 percent from the field and 1-7 from long range. He finally busted out of the rut with a career-high 17 points. WithTum Tum Nairn missing yet another game, McQuaid was the only active point guard on the team, and he finally answered the call.
The Spartans lit it up from three despite a quiet night from Bryn Forbes, who only scored nine points. MSU connected on a season-high 16 long bombs, surpassing the previous high of 11. Valentine led the team with 19 points and five those three-pointers. Deyonta Davis turned in a solid performance as well, with a near double-double at eight points and 11 rebounds.
Tre Demps, arguably the Wildcats’ best weapon, was held in check all night. He turned in his worst game of the season with only four points on 2-14 shooting. This loss for Northwestern was the latest in a string of setbacks in their quest for their first ever NCAA Tournament bid.
MSU nearly became one of the only teams to win by 20+ points without making a single free throw. But Matt Van Dyk had to ruin the historic opportunity with a minute and a half remaining.
Next up for MSU is a date with cellar-dweller Rutgers on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at the Breslin Center. That three-game losing streak seems like a distant memory now.
Originally posted: http://impact89fm.org/sports/msu-rolls-woeful-wildcats/