Associated Press, December 3, 2016

(AP) Freshman Nick Ward scored a season-high 24 points and matched a season high with 10 rebounds in an attempt to make up for the loss of Miles Bridges, helping Michigan State hold off Oral Roberts for a 80-76 win Saturday night.

The Spartans (5-4) played for the first time without Bridges, their leading scorer and rebounder, and missed him a lot. The standout freshman watched the game with a walking boot on his left foot, protecting a sprained ankle that will keep him out for at least a couple weeks.

The Golden Eagles (1-7) were very competitive in a game that included 13 lead changes and six ties. They led by as many as seven points in the first half and had some leads early in the second half.

Kris Martin pulled them within two points with 20.8 seconds left with a four-point play, but they couldn't get closer as Michigan State made two more free throws to seal the victory.

Michigan State freshman Cassius Winston had a season-high 15 points and nine assists and Eron Harris scored 14.

Oral Roberts' Emmanuel Nzekwesi had 21 points and 13 rebounds, Jalen Bradley scored 17, Martin had 16 points and Albert Owens added 15 points and eight rebounds.


Oral Roberts: The banged-up Golden Eagles, missing some key players due to injury, seem to be much better than their record indicates. When they get healthy, veteran coach Scott Sutton will have a talented and tough team to work with this season.

Michigan State: Spartans coach Tom Izzo has wanted this team to get the ball inside more, and it has a good option inside with Ward without Bridges in the lineup. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward wants the ball in the post and he has skills to do something with it when teammates pass it to him.


Oral Roberts: At Oklahoma on Wednesday.

Michigan State: Hosts Youngstown State on Tuesday.
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