East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State’s men’s basketball team plays at No. 14/12 Ohio State on Saturday, Jan. 5, the first of five games away from home in the next seven for the Spartans. Tipoff at Value Center Arena is slated for noon.
On the Air
The game will air live on FOX, with Gus Johnson calling the play-by-play, Jim Jackson serving as the color analyst and Lisa Byington on sidelines. 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 134, XM 195 and Internet 957.
Michigan State enters Saturday’s game with a 12-2 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the Big Ten. The Spartans, ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches poll, have won seven-straight games and 12 of the last 13 overall. Ohio State, winners of six-straight games, enters the game with a 12-1 overall record and a 2-0 mark in league play.
Last Time Out
Junior forward Nick Ward (Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln) scored 21 points and junior guard Cassius Winston (Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit) had a double-double with 13 points and 12 assists as Michigan State opened up a 20-point halftime lead en route to an 81-55 win over Northwestern on Wednesday night ... Ward led five players in double figures, scoring all 21 of his points in the first half, while sophomore forward Xavier Tillman (Grand Rapids, Mich./GR Christian) added 14 points and eight rebounds, redshirt junior Kyle Ahrens (Versailles, Ohio/Versailles) had 11 points, three rebounds and two assists and senior guard Matt McQuaid (Duncanville, Texas/Duncanville) finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
About the Spartans
• Michigan State is ranked No. 9 in the country in scoring offense (87.1 ppg) and has scored at least 80 points 10 times this season.
• Through 14 games, Winston leads the team with 17.1 points per game and 7.8 assists per game ... Winston is seventh in the Big Ten in scoring and is No. 3 in the country in assists per game.
• Ward is second on the team with 16.4 points and third on the team with 6.4 rebounds ... He is 12th in the Big Ten in scoring and ranks fifth in the league, and is No. 14 nationally in field goal percentage, connecting on 65.9 percent of his shots.
• Junior guard Joshua Langford (Huntsville, Ala./Madison Academy) is third on the team in scoring with 15.0 points per game, while adding 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
• Tillman is fourth on the team in scoring with 8.6 points and second with 8.1 rebounds, while redshirt senior Kenny Goins (Troy, Mich./Warren Mott) is sixth on the team in scoring with 6.6 points and leads the team with 9.4 rebounds per game, which ranks No. 35 nationally.
• McQuaid is averaging 7.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists and Ahrens is averaging 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds.
A Sort of Homecoming
• Two Michigan State players will be playing in their home state, with Ahrens (Versailles) and Ward (Gahanna) returning to play in front of family and friends ... This will be a special game for Ahrens, whose brother Justin is a freshman forward for the Buckeyes.
• Michigan State leads the all-time series with Ohio State, 73-59.
• The Spartans have won 33 of the last 49 games in the series.
• Tom Izzo is 28-16 in his career against the Buckeyes.
• Fourteen of the last 18 games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
• Eight of the last 14 games have been decided by five points or less.
About Ohio State
• The Buckeyes have won their last six games, including an 82-64 win over High Point on Dec. 29 ... Ohio State opened the season with six-straight wins before losing to Syracuse (72-62) and then winning six more.
• Sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.5 points and 6.8 boards per game ... He is one of two players in double figures, joined by senior guard C.J. Jackson, who is averaging 13.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and has hit a team-high 26 3-pointers.
• Ohio State has five other players averaging at least 7.0 points per game, with freshman guard Luther Muhammad scoring 9.3 and graduate guard Keyshawn Woods scoring 8.4 points and adding a team-leading 3.4 assists per game.
• The Buckeyes are sixth in the league in scoring offense (78.0 ppg) and third in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 61.9 points per game.