EAST LANSING, Mich. - Cassius Winston scored 18 points and Xavier Tillman had 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists to lead No. 14 Michigan State in a 79-50 win over Northwestern on Wednesday night.
The Spartans (16-5, 8-2 Big Ten) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference. The lead may last only a day because No. 19 Illinois has a chance to pull into a tie Thursday night at home against Minnesota.
Pat Spencer scored 11 points for the last-place Wildcats (6-14, 1-9) and was their only double-digit scorer in a game they never led.
Michigan State had balance on offense the entire game and outscored its overmatched opponents 46-28 in the second half.
Foster Loyer scored 12 points and matched a career high with four 3-pointers. The sophomore came off the bench to give Winston relief and the team another outside shooter it desperately needs. Five other Spartans scored at least six points.
Northwestern: The Wildcats have lost five straight and 10 of 11 and there's no relief in sight for the last-place team in the conference in a balanced Big Ten.
Michigan State: A sluggish start led to a modest halftime lead, but coach Tom Izzo likely said enough to motivate the team at halftime to spark the rout.
Michigan State freshman Malik Hall left the game with an ankle injury midway through the second half. Hall started for the second straight game and he took advantage, scoring all six of his points in the first half. Kyle Ahrens had three points and three assists in eight minutes for the Spartans, playing after missing three straight games and four of the previous five games with an Achilles tendon injury
Northwestern: Hosts Purdue (11-10, 4-6) on Saturday night.
Michigan State: Plays the Badgers (12-9, 5-5) on the road Saturday.