EAST LANSING, MI. -- Michigan State’s men’s basketball team plays its final game before the New Year on Sunday, Dec. 29, hosting Western Michigan at the Breslin Center. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m.
This is the second-straight game against a team from the Mid-American Conference, as the Spartans posted a 101-48 win over Eastern Michigan on Dec. 21. After play seven road or neutral games over the first 12 games of the season, MSU is playing the second game of five-straight games at home. Following Sunday’s game against WMU, the Spartans play three Big Ten Conference games between Jan. 2 and Jan. 9.
The Michigan State-Eastern Michigan game will air live on BTN, with Cory Provus and Bob Wenzel calling all of the action. The Spartan Sports Network radio call can be heard on one of 38 affiliates and on the web at SpartanSportsNetwork.com, with Will Tieman handling the play-by-play and Matt Steigenga serving as the color analyst. The game can also be heard on Sirius 206, XM 195 and Internet 957.
Michigan State, winners of four-straight and six of its last seven and ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll and No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches poll, enters Sunday’s game with an 9-3 overall record. Western Michigan has won three-straight games and is 7-5 overall.
Last Time Out
Senior guard Cassius Winston (Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit) scored 21 points and had seven assists to lead five players in double figures as No. 15 Michigan State opened up a 21-point halftime lead and cruised to a 101-48 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Dec. 21 at the Breslin Center ... Sophomore guard Foster Loyer (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) scored 13 points, sophomore forward Aaron Henry (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) scored 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had six assists, junior forward Xavier Tillman (Grand Rapids, Mich./GR Christian) had 11 points and seven rebounds and sophomore forward Marcus Bingham Jr. (Grand Rapids, Mich./GR Catholic Central) added 10 points and six rebounds.
About the Spartans
Winston leads MSU, and ranks third in the Big Ten, in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game … Winston is also fourth in the league in assists, averaging 6.1 per game, and second in free throw percentage, connecting on 86.0 percent of his shots (43-of-50).
Tillman is second on the team with 12.9 points per game (19th in the Big Ten) and tops the team, and is tied for fourth in the Big Ten, with 9.8 rebounds per game, while adding 2.7 assists per game.
Henry, who scored a season-high 18 points against Virginia Tech and matched a career-best with six assists against Eastern Michigan, is third on the team with 10.2 points per game, while adding 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
MSU has five other players averaging at least 5.0 points per game, led by sophomore forward Gabe Brown (Ypsilanti, Mich./Belleville), who is averaging 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Freshman guard Rocket Watts (Detroit, Mich./SPIRE Academy [Ohio]) adds 6.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Freshman forward Malik Hall (Aurora, Ill./Sunrise Christian Academy [Kan.]), who had nine points and eight rebounds against Duke, is averaging 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Bingham Jr., who has started the last seven games and scored 13 points against Duke, is averaging 5.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
Sophomore forward Thomas Kithier (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) is averaging 5.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists.
Sunday’s matchup between Michigan State and Western Michigan will be the 37th meeting between the schools.
MSU leads the all-time series with Western Michigan, 25-11, including a 19-7 advantage in games at home.
The Spartans have won the last five meetings with the Broncos and eight of the last nine.
Western Michigan’s last win in the series was an 83-79 decision in East Lansing on Nov. 28, 1981.
About Western Michigan
Western Michigan enters Sunday’s game with a 7-5 overall record ... The Broncos have won three-straight games following an 84-61 win over Aquinas on Dec. 18.
WMU opened the season with three-straight wins before dropping games at Ole Miss (85-58) and Oklahoma State (70-63), a stretch that saw the Broncos lose five of six games.
The Broncos have 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game.
WMU is led by junior guard Michael Flowers, who leads the team in scoring at 17.5 points per game, which ranks second in the Mid-American Conference.
Redshirt junior forward Brandon Johnson leads the team with four double-doubles this season and is averaging 15.5 points and a team-best 9.0 rebounds per contest.
Junior guard Rafael Cruz Jr. is scoring 8.1 points off the bench,
WMU ranks 12th in the NCAA in free-throws made (216) and ninth in free-throws attempted (304) ... The Broncos go to the line 25.3 times per game.
The Broncos are 23rd in the NCAA in fewest turnovers per game, registering just 11.4 per game.