EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Maurice Ager made all six of his
3-pointers and had a career-high 24 points for Michigan State in a
73-61 win over Northwestern on Wednesday night.
Ager scored 22 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, and
Chris Hill added 17 points for Michigan State (8-7, 3-1 Big Ten).
The Spartans have won three straight for the first time all season
and hold a share of the conference lead.
Michigan State took a 20-point lead in the second half, but
Northwestern made a late charge with a 15-3 run to cut the deficit
to seven. Jitim Young and Vedran Vukusic each hit 3s during the
spurt, and Young's reverse layup made it 66-59 with 1:43 to go.
However, Michigan State hit 6-of-7 free throws down the stretch
to put the game out of reach for Northwestern (7-9 2-3). The
Spartans shot 61 percent from the field.
Michigan State led 42-25 at halftime, and Ager and Hill combined
to score 35 of those points and made 9-of-10 3s.
Hill opened the game with three 3s during an 11-0 run for
Michigan State. The Spartans held Northwestern scoreless until 4:10
into the game, but the Wildcats pulled within 13-11 on consecutive
steals and layups from Mohamed Hachad and Young.
Ager quickly hit back-to-back 3s from the left corner to give
the Spartans an eight-point cushion. He later scored 11 straight
points, hitting three 3s and putting back a miss by Alan Anderson,
to extend Michigan State's lead to 34-22.
Young led Northwestern with 16 points and Vukusic had 13. The
Wildcats were beaten badly down low, with Michigan State finishing
with a 29-18 edge in rebounding.
Ager started the second half on the bench and didn't come into
the game until more than five minutes had expired.
It didn't take him long to get involved.
On Michigan State's first possession with Ager in the lineup,
the 6-4 guard grabbed a loose ball under the basket, took one step
and dunked in traffic. The basket gave Michigan State a 53-33 lead,
its largest of the game.
Paul Davis had 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting for Michigan State
and also added six rebounds.