Michigan State moves into first place in Big Ten by beating No. 24 Minnesota

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Miles Bridges scored all 16 of his points in the first half as Michigan State used a 15-0 run to close the half and open up a 39-17 lead as they blew out No. 24 Minnesota, 65-47.

The win moved the Spartans to 4-1 in the Big Ten with a pair of wins of the Gophers, who, like Michigan State, appear to be a team destined to fight it out for a top four finish in the conference.

The Spartans appear to be trending in the right direction these days. After struggling through a brutal early season schedule, Michigan State has seemingly righted the ship. Their lone league loss came against Penn State in a game played in the Palestra, and they won their first three conference games despite playing without Miles Bridges, who was battling an ankle injury.

With Bridges back, the Spartans looked terrific on Wednesday.

There were still the lapses on the offensive end of the floor that, unfortunately, are going to be a constant storyline with a team that plays two walk-ons up front and starts Tum Tum Nairn at the point. It’s inevitable. But the good news is that this team can really defend when they have to, like on Wednesday. The Gophers managed just 47 points on 33.3 percent shooting.

The Big Ten race is wide open this season. Purdue lost to this Minnesota team at home. They also worked over Wisconsin in that same building. Indiana stinks, Maryland is still something of an unknown and Nebraska just lost Ed Morrow for an undetermined about of time.

The Spartans are a flawed basketball team. They’re also a basketball team that’s playing pretty well at the moment, one coached by Tom Izzo that defends and has a star like Bridges on the roster.

In this league and in this season, why not?

Should I mention that today’s win puts them all alone into first place in the conference?