EAST LANSING, MI – Cassius Winston made his last home game against Michigan memorable with a sensational performance his in-state rivals would rather forget.
Winston had a career-high 32 points and nine assists, leading No. 14 Michigan State to a 87-69 victory over the 12th-ranked Wolverines on Sunday.
“It was one of the greater performances that this building has seen,” said coach Tom Izzo, who has witnessed a slew of games at Breslin Center as a head coach and assistant over the last three decades. “I don’t think any of us will ever be able to appreciate what that kid has gone through and how he has handled it.”
Winston has had a heavy heart for nearly two months because his younger brother, Zachary, died after being hit by a train.
The senior star has played while grieving and that seemed to adversely affect some of his performances earlier in the season, but he was at his best in the first of two scheduled games against Michigan.
“Cassius is a superb, phenomenal player,” Wolverines coach Juwan Howard said. “He does an excellent job of reading whatever defense you throw at him. Give him credit. He's crafty. There's a reason why he was the player of the year in the Big Ten.”
Winston was 11 of 19 overall and 8 of 11 at the line. He had just two turnovers despite having the ball in his hands during much of his 38-minute outing.
“I made a lot of things happen,” Winston said. “Everything was clicking. I felt that I was in rhythm the whole game. I was in control the whole game.”