Ward's big day helps No. 9 Michigan St rout Green Bay 104-83

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Nick Ward scored 22 of his 28 points in a nearly perfect first half to help No. 9 Michigan State rout Green Bay 104-83 on Sunday night.

Ward made all nine of his field goal attempts in the first half, although he did miss a free throw. The Spartans (9-2) made their last seven shots of the half to take a 64-35 lead.

Ward also made his first two shots of the second half and finished 12 of 13.

Sandy Cohen III scored 22 points for Green Bay, which actually led 24-20 before a 27-4 run by Michigan State. The Phoenix (6-6) had only one timeout left by halftime, but nothing they tried was enough to slow the Spartans.

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Ward was particularly impressive in transition. Seconds after a made basket by Green Bay, Ward beat everyone down the court for a layup that made it 40-28 and led to one of Green Bay's timeouts.

The end of the half was an even bigger fiasco for the Phoenix. Cassius Winston made a layup in the final seconds for Michigan State, but there was enough time for Xavier Tillman to steal the ball and add a 3-pointer.

For a while, the Spartans appeared to have a chance to break the school record of 121 points. They had 75 with 15:00 remaining, but they couldn't quite keep up that pace.

BIG PICTURE

Green Bay: The Phoenix have put up plenty of points this season. They were averaging 85 points before Sunday. But they weren't able to take Michigan State out of its comfort zone, and they didn't do a good job stemming the tide when the Spartans went on their first-half run.

Michigan State: It was an energetic performance by Ward and the Spartans after a seven-day layoff. Michigan State had 31 assists on 38 baskets and outrebounded Green Bay 56-34. Sixteen different players played for the Spartans, and coach Tom Izzo was even able to play an all-freshman lineup for a bit toward the end.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

No. 4 Gonzaga lost to North Carolina this weekend. The question is whether it would be too much of a jump for the Spartans to pass the Bulldogs.

UP NEXT

Green Bay: This was the second of four straight road games for the Phoenix. They play at Evansville on Saturday.

Michigan State: The Spartans host Oakland on Friday night.