EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Alvin Ellis III scored 16 points, Cassius Winston had 15 and Nick Ward added 11 as Michigan State made the most of a fast start in a 61-52 win over Northwestern on Friday night.
It was the third win in a row for the Spartans (10-5, 2-0 Big Ten), who led 28-9 in the first half before Northwestern (12-3, 1-1) got going. The Wildcats finished the half on a 20-8 run to pull to 36-29 at the break.
Sanjay Lumpkin’s 3-pointer early in the second half cut the Spartans’ lead to four, 36-32. Michigan State led 48-44 with 11:29 left and the Wildcats didn’t get closer.
Michigan State shot 42.9 percent from the floor (21 of 49), while hitting just 4 of 17 3-point tries.
Vic Law had 16 points and nine rebounds while Scottie Lindsey added 11 points for the Wildcats (12-3, 1-1), who went cold down the stretch and shot just 35.8 percent (19 of 53) from the floor.
Northwestern: The Wildcats entered the game having won 19 in a row in the month of December, a streak dating back to 2014. They had won nine in a row overall, the longest streak in the Big Ten, and hadn’t lost since Nov. 23, a 70-66 setback against Notre Dame in the championship game of the Legends Classic in New York.
Michigan State: Tom Izzo, who is third on the all-time list of Big Ten wins, is 19-3 in Big Ten home openers, including 14 wins in the last 15 years.
Northwestern is home against Minnesota on Jan. 5, the only home game for the Wildcats in their first five Big Ten games. The last time the Wildcats played four of their first five Big Ten games on the road was during the 1955-56 season.
Michigan State is home against Rutgers on Jan. 4. The Spartans will face a Rutgers team playing on two days’ rest. Rutgers is home against Penn State on Sunday.